The honor will be presented to Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis June 7 at the AEA headquarters in New York City. The award "honors and encourages those who actively promote the goals of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity for those who work in the theatre."
AEA also announced that it will receive a Mayoral Proclamation designating June 7 as Diversity on Broadway Day. Commissioner Katherine Oliver will present.
2011 Tony Award nominees Al Pacino and Lily Rabe led the Broadway cast of Merchant of Venice, which also featured David Harbour, Jesse L. Martin, Byron Jennings, Heather Lind, David Aaron Baker, Gerry Bamman, Matthew Rauch, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Isaiah Johnson, Christopher Fitzgerald, Peter Francis James, Richard Topol, Thomas Michael Hammond, Charles Kimbrough, Seth Numrich, Happy Anderson, George Bartenieff, Liza J. Bennett, Glenn Fleshler, Luke Forbes, Herb Foster, Bryce Gill, Jade Hawk, Bethany Heinrich, Curt Hostetter, Tia James, Kelsey Kurz, Brian Keith Macdonald, Dorien Makhloghi, Kim Martin-Cotten, Brian Sgambati and Baylen Thomas.
Daniel Sullivan directed the production that began life in 2010 as part of Shakespeare in the Park. It transferred to the Broadhurst Theatre Oct. 19 and played an extended Broadway run through Feb. 20.
The Merchant of Venice earned seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Actor (Pacino), Best Actress (Rabe) and Best Revival of a Play.