Leslie Uggams is scheduled to present Jones with the award during the O'Neill Center's annual gala, which takes place at Bridgewaters, located at New York City's South Street Seaport.
The evening promises a scene from The Merchant of Venice, performed by Ruben Santiago Hudson and Kate MacCluggage; a selection from August Wilson’s Fences with Keith Randolph Smith and Chris Chalk; and toasts from Jones' Driving Miss Daisy co-stars Boyd Gaines and Vanessa Redgrave. Musical performances are also planned.
Previous Monte Cristo recipients include Harold Prince, Kevin Spacey, Neil Simon, Jason Robards, Jr., Edward Albee, August Wilson, Zoe Caldwell, Brian Dennehy, Karl Malden, Arthur & Barbara Gelb and Wendy Wasserstein.
“James Earl Jones defines the ethos of the Monte Cristo Award – pioneering, artistically excellent, and a commitment to the stage. His connection to the O’Neill and the late Lloyd Richards is deep, and I look forward to a fantastic and fun evening in May," O'Neill executive director Preston Whiteway said in a statement.
The honorary gala committee includes Jane Alexander, Alec Baldwin, Courtney B. Vance & Angela Bassett, Matthew Broderick, Pat Daily, Charles S. Dutton, Boyd Gaines, Kelsey Grammer, Ted Hartley, Vanessa Redgrave, Anika Noni Rose, Susan Stroman, Leslie Uggams, Alfred Uhry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Thomas Viertel, George C. White, Michael Douglas, Dina Merrill, Stephen Hendel & Ruth Hendel, Harold Prince and Betsy White. Jones earned Tony Awards for his work in The Great White Hope and Fences. He repeated his work as boxer Jack Johnson in The Great White Hope on screen, earning an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe. Jones was Tony-nominated for the 2005 revival of On Golden Pond. His numerous stage credits also include Othello, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, Sunrise at Campobello, The Blood Knot, Boseman and Lena Master Harold…and the boys and The Iceman Cometh. On screen he has been seen in "Malcolm X," "Coming to America," "Field of Dreams" and "Cry, the Beloved Country."
Gala tickets and table reservations are available by phoning (860) 443-5378, ext. 217.