Phylicia Rashad to Receive William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre

Awards   Phylicia Rashad to Receive William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s benefit honoring the Tony-winning actor will feature a performance by Laura Benanti.
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Phylicia Rashad Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Shakespeare Theatre Company will present Tony winner Phylicia Rashad with the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre (the Will Award) at its upcoming gala, set for October 14 at the Harman Center for the Arts.

Laura Benanti Marc J. Franklin

STC will also honor Jacqueline Badger Mars with the Sidney Harman Award for Philanthropy in the Arts for her support of STC and commitment to arts education in Washington, D.C.

Performers at this year’s gala will include Tony winner Laura Benanti and Step Afrika!; additional talent and special guests will be announced at a later date.

Rashad will receive the Will Award in recognition of her career on the stage in classical theatre. Most recently she played Titania in the Public Theater’s Central Park production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She made history with her performance as Lena Younger in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, becoming the first black actor to win a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. In 2016 she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play for her performance as Shelah in Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes at the Public Theater.


“Phylicia Rashad’s outstanding career and dynamic accomplishments in classical theatre make her a fitting choice for the Will Award. As a gifted classical actor, she continues to delight audiences with her performances on both stage and screen,” said STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn. “In addition to her work as an actor, she has received critical acclaim for her work as a director, leading productions at the Goodman Theatre, the Long Wharf Theatre, the McCarter Theatre and the Kennedy Center. She continues to be an inspirational teacher to the next generation of classical actors.”

Rashad joins notable artists who have previously received the award, including Laura Linney, Julie Taymor, Diana Rigg, Annette Bening, Sir Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Fiona Shaw, Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, Maggie Smith, Patrick Stewart, Morgan Freeman, Christopher Plummer, and the late Joseph Papp.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact

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