Streep will be presented with the honor April 21, 2014, in New York City. Joe Grifasi, one of Streep's classmates at the Yale School of Drama, will present the Academy Award winner with the honor. The actress has a history with the company, having performed there in 1975 shortly after graduating from Yale.
Streep is being honored "in recognition of her monumental achievements and contributions to the American theatre."
"The O'Neill is a place unlike any other," Streep said in a statement. "I'm honored to receive this award from an organization so vital to the discovery and support of new artists and work for the American theatre, including my friend and Yale classmate, Wendy Wasserstein."
She continued, "That summer we were all engaged with full hearted passion in sometimes the silliest of exercises, and all in service of finding that wiggly, elusive creature: a new play. The process was so condensed that I learned a sort of invaluable swiftness of decision making, out of necessity. The 'choices' could not be labored over, and that, for certain types of thinking actors, is a gift of exigency. You had to, like your fifth grade teacher said, in multiple choice questions, just go with your first instinct, don't worry it to death. That's what actors did at the O'Neill, and with full blown commitment. Like jumping off the platform onto the swinging trapeze… don't hesitate. It's a good lesson. One I've carried with me my whole life."
Streep's stage appearances include Trelawny of the Wells, The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, Mother Courage, The Taming of the Shrew, Henry V, Measure for Measure, Taken in Marriage and Alice in Concert. In the summer of 2012 Streep appeared in a gala reading of Romeo and Juliet for the Public Theater opposite Kevin Kline at the Delacorte Theater. She is a three-time Academy Award winner for "The Iron Lady," "Sophie's Choice" and "Kramer vs. Kramer." Her numerous screen appearances also include the upcoming film "August: Osage County," "The Devil Wears Prada," "Doubt," "Julie & Julia," "Postcards from the Edge" and "The Bridges of Madison County." She will play The Witch in the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. Previous Monte Cristo recipients include Christopher Plummer, Michael Douglas, James Earl Jones, 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.
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