Playwright Tony Kushner has a big reason to smile this morning, as he’s been named the first recipient of the ‘Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award,’ aka the Mimi, which carries with it a $200K prize. The award, which was established earlier this year by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, and which honors and promotes artistic achievement in the theater, will be presented at a ceremony on Tuesday, October 21, at 620 Loft & Garden at Rockefeller Center. Mr. Kushner will also then get his ‘The Mimi,’ a statue designed by Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect David Rockwell.
More from the press release:
Commencing this year (and to be awarded on a biennial basis thereafter), ‘The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award’ (‘The Mimi’) honors an American playwright whose body of work has made significant contributions to the American theater.
Announcing Mr. Kushner as the first recipient, William D. Zabel, on behalf of The Steinberg Trust, said, "‘The Mimi’ helps fulfill the Trust’s mission to promote the American theater as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American playwrights, and there could be no better first recipient than Tony Kushner."
Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater, on behalf of the advisory committee that selected Mr. Kushner, commented, "The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award will make an outstanding contribution to the vitality and health of the American theater. A prize of this magnitude both honors the recipient and the field itself. I know I speak for the entire selection committee when I say it has been a privilege to choose the first playwright to be honored. Tony Kushner stands at the very pinnacle of American playwriting by virtue of his talent, the scope of his ambition, and his commitment to making theater that speaks to the heart of our national discourse. He is a great writer, a great public intellectual, and a great human spirit."
Earlier this year, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust established the Advisory Committee of prominent theater professionals that determined the criteria for the award, nominated the playwrights and ultimately selected the first recipient. The members of the initial Committee are André Bishop, Artistic Director, Lincoln Center Theater; David Emmes, Producing Artistic Director, South Coast Repertory; Mr. Eustis; Polly K. Carl, Producing Artistic Director, Playwrights Center; Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company; playwright Eduardo Machado, Artistic Director, INTAR Theatre; and Marc Masterson, Artistic Director, Actors Theatre of Louisville.