The awards are held at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, where Guirgis receives a cash award of $200,000.
The evening features opening remarks by Centerstage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, followed by readings of Guirgis’ work. Yul Vazquez and Felix Solis perform a scene from The Motherf**ker with the Hat; Ellen Burstyn and Kevin Corrigan read an excerpt from The Little Flower of East Orange; and Elizabeth Rodriguez presents a monologue from The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.
Guests include David Adjmi, Helen Carey, David Henry Hwang, John Leguizamo, Andy Karl, Lynne Meadow, Bruce Norris, Lynn Nottage, Orfeh, Annabella Sciorra, Jeremy Shamos, John Patrick Shanley, Jimmy Smits and many others.
"I am beyond humbled to receive this incredibly generous affirmation and support from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust," Guirgis said in a previous statement. "We live in a world of, 'Take the money and run.' This award is especially meaningful and inspiring to me personally because the message here seems to be, 'Take the money, and STAY.' It's a privilege and an honor to be a worker in our theater community. I only hope to reward your faith in me by doing the best work I can for as long as I'm able and by helping young artists in any way I can. Playwrights and all artists in the theater do need support. I am grateful, proud, blown away and tremendously thankful for everything this award says and gives. I'm staying. Tomorrow starts today." Guirgis is a member and former co-artistic director of LAByrinth Theater Company. His plays, which have been produced on five continents and throughout the United States, include Our Lady of 121st Street; Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train; In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings; The Last Days of Judas Iscariot; and The Little Flower of East Orange. He is a Tony nominee for The Motherf**ker with the Hat. Guirgis' play Between Riverside and Crazy was recently presented by the Atlantic Theater Company and will play Second Stage Theatre in 2015.
Previous recipients of the Steinberg Playwright Awards and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award include Annie Baker, Rajiv Joseph, David Henry Hwang, Lisa D'Amour, Melissa James Gibson, Lynn Nottage, David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Bruce Norris and Tony Kushner.