The 10th annual "Will Award," given by Washington DC's Shakespeare Theatre to artists who make "a significant contribution to classical theatre in America," will be given to Patrick Stewart at a black-tie gala April 12. The honor recognizes Stewart's commitment to "the ongoing process of renewing and invigorating classical theatre" in the U.S.
Last seen on Broadway as Prospero in 1995's The Tempest, Stewart has also received much acclaim for his one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, performed over the winter holidays on Broadway in 1991, 1992 and 1994, in London in 1993 and in Los Angeles in 1996. Stewart is also set to appear (Nov. 11, 1997-Jan. 4, 1998) in Shakespeare Theatre's Othello, a production directed by Jude Kelly that features the white actor as the lead character -- opposite an all black cast.
A noted Shakespearean actor well before achieving international stardom as Captain Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation", Stewart has been an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company since 1967, and with them has played such classical roles as King John, Shylock, and Henry IV. He won an Olivier Award for his work in Peter Brook's legendary production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. He also lectures at colleges across the country on the plays of Shakespeare. Stewart's non "Star Trek" TV roles include Sejanus in "I, Claudius," Karla in "Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy," and "Smiley's People," and Salieri in "the Mozart Inquest."
Previous recipients of the William Shakespeare Award For Classical Theatre include Sam Waterston, Lynn Redgrave, Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Christopher Plummer, Kevin Kline and Joseph Papp.
For tickets ($500) to the April 12 gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, call (202) 547-3230, x.3119. --By David Lefkowitz