The biennial honor, known as the "Mimi," is part of the Steinberg Trust's initiative to support the work of new and established playwrights. The individual awards are presented in alternating years.
Tony Kushner was the first to receive the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award in 2008. David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bruce Norris were recipients of the 2009 Playwright Awards; and Lynn Nottage was awarded the 2010 Distinguished Playwright honor.
Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect David Rockwell designed the statuettes.
According to the trust: "The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award honors the artistic achievement of a playwright whose work has made a significant impact on American theatre. The Steinberg Playwright Award is awarded to playwrights who exhibit exceptional talent and tremendous promise in earlier stages of their careers."
The trust also annually presents the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. Bill Cain (Equivocation, Nine Circles) won the honor the past two seasons.