Theatre luminaries gather November 14 to honor award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl with the 2016 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, presented by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Scenes highlighting her body of work are presented at the ceremony, which takes place at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.
The evening features remarks by Lynne Meadow, artistic director of Manhattan Theatre Club; James Lundy from Yale Repertory Theatre; and Todd London, executive director and Professor at University of Washington’s School of Drama.
Celia Keenan-Bolger will perform the epilogue from The Oldest Boy; Blair Brown, Jessica Hecht, and Polly Noonan will perform essays from 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write; Maria Dizzia and Joseph J. Parks, original cast members from the Off-Broadway production of Eurydice, will perform a scene from that show; and Kathleen Chalfant will perform a monologue from For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday.
The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award is presented biennially to honor and encourage “the artistic excellence and achievement of an American playwright whose body of work has made significant contributions to the American theatre.” The recipient of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award receives a cash award of $200,000.
The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award and Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented in alternate years. Past recipients include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau (Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2015); Stephen Adly Guirgis (Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2014); Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph (Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2013); David Henry Hwang (Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2012); Lisa D’Amour and Melissa James Gibson (Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2011); Lynn Nottage (Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2010); David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Bruce Norris (Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2009); and Tony Kushner (Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2008).
Along with a monetary award, playwrights receive The Mimi, a statuette designed by David Rockwell, Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect.
In 2008, the board of directors created an advisory committee of prominent theatre professionals to establish the awards criteria, nominate individual candidates, and select each recipient. The 2016 advisory committee comprises Paige Evans, artistic director, Signature Theatre Company; Lynne Meadow, artistic director, Manhattan Theatre Club; Carole Rothman, artistic director, Second Stage Theatre; Molly Smith, artistic director, Arena Stage; Kent Thompson, artistic director, Denver Center Theatre Company; Les Waters, artistic director, Actors Theatre of Louisville; and Chay Yew, artistic director, Victory Gardens Theater.
The board of directors of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is made up of Carole A. Krumland, James D. Steinberg, Michael A. Steinberg, Seth M. Weingarten, and William D. Zabel.
(Updated November 14, 2016)