Zona Gale became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama when MISS LULU BETT received the award in 1921; yet this poignant play about a small town spinster’s search for love and independence went unseen in New York for over 80 years until its Mint revival in 2000.

Significantly, the Mint’s production restored Gale’s original bittersweet ending. Broadway audiences in 1921 wanted romance; 80 years later the Mint staged Gale’s more nuanced version.

“To the Mint, America’s early theatrical history is a treasure trove replete with discarded gems…it demonstrates that any script that once commanded attention and audiences can live again,”1wrote Time Out New York of MISS LULU BETT. Town and Village echoed the praise, calling it, “a remarkable play. Reminiscent of an Ibsen Drama, it delves deeply into the dynamics of a family. It’s funny and sad, cruel and gentle.” 2

Zona Gale (Playwright) is the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.  She was born in Portage, Wisconsin where she spent much of her life.  Like Susan Glaspell, author of Alison’s House, which was presented by the Mint this past fall, Gale began her professional career as a journalist.  After stints as a reporter for the Evening Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Journal Gale left the mid-west for New York and wrote for the Evening World.  After 18 months she embarked on a freelance career.  She returned to Portage in 1911 and in 1920 she published a short novel that became a national best seller and caught the eye of Broadway producer Brock Pemberton.  Ms. Gale adapted her book Miss Lulu Bett for the stage in only ten days and two months later the play opened on Broadway!


  • Dwight Deacon Ed Sala
  • Ina Deacon Valerie Leonard
  • Diana Deacon Katherine Leonard
  • Monona Deacon Melissa O’Malley
  • Ninian Deacon Peter Davies
  • Lulu Bett Angela Reed
  • Mrs. Bett Billie Lou Watt
  • Bobby Larkin John Sloan
  • Mr. Cornish Nick Dantos


  • Set Design Vicki R. Davis
  • Lighting Design Randy Glickman
  • Costume Design Marianne Powell-Parker
  • Stage Manager Allison Deutsch
  • Assistant Stage Managers Erin J. Riggs
    and Janine L. Pangburn


An after show discussion on the life and work of Zona Gale led by Dr. Yvonne Shafer, author ofAmerican Women Playwrights 1900-1950, and a member of the Humanities program at St. John’s University.


Dr. Shafer, also an accomplished professional actress, presents her one-woman show American Women Playwrights. The presentation includes material from the plays and letters of Susan Glaspell, Dorothy Parker, Mae West and others.