In addition to a $20,000 prize, Wolfe will direct a project of his choice at the New Jersey theatre, marking his McCarter debut.
The Sallie Goodman Prize, according to press notes, is a "one-of-a-kind prize in the American theater to reward distinguished artists choosing to create in the not-for-profit theater. The Prize is designed to attract the world's finest directors, performers, choreographers, and writers in the work of McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey." The Prize was established by Ms. Goodman's husband, Jerry Goodman, who "wished to help remember his wife as an active member of the theater community and friend to McCarter Theatre, and to honor her memory with a meaningful gift to the arts world."
Wolfe was selected by a panel of judges that included Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, theatre producer Roger S. Berlind, McCarter artistic director Emily Mann and McCarter producing director Mara Isaacs.
The inaugural prize also launchs Mann's 20th anniversary season as McCarter's artistic director.
In a statement Wolfe said, "McCarter Theater is an astonishing organization, known not only for the daring and important work it presents, but for the nurturing, stimulating and safe environment it offers its artists. I am honored to receive the Sallie Goodman Prize and I look forward to working with McCarter's Artistic Staff and getting to know the theater's audiences." Mann added, "Since George Wolfe stepped down from his leadership role at the Public to pursue other career options, we have missed his regular presence on the American Stage. I am thrilled that he has chosen McCarter for his return to the stage and that the Sallie Goodman Prize will serve as the catalyst for bringing him back with a major work of his choosing."
Wolfe served as producer of the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival and won Tony Awards for his direction of Bring in 'da Noise/Bring in 'da Funk and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.
His other directorial credits include Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Jelly's Last Jam, Angels in America: Perestroika, Blade to the Heat, Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, The Tempest, On the Town, Macbeth, The Wild Party and Caroline, or Change.
Wolfe also wrote the book for the musicals Jelly's Last Jam and The Wild Party, co-wrote the lyrics for Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk and wrote the play The Colored Museum. He received a DGA Award for HBO's "Lackawanna Blues."