Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Nov. 18: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph to be honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards

David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

David Henry Hwang Photo by Lia Chang

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust will honor playwrights David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph at the Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on Monday, November 18, 2013 at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York. Presented biennially to honor the accomplishments of some of the most gifted up-and-coming American Playwrights and to recognize the promise they hold for the future of American theater, this year’s event will also recognize and honor 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award recipient, David Henry Hwang, whose Fall 2012 celebration was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.
David Henry Hwang to Receive the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the 5th Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards on October 29, 2012

“Receiving the Mimi Award is an extravagant blessing, which overwhelms me with gratitude,” David Henry Hwang said. “My deep thanks to the Steinberg Trust and Board for its visionary support of American Playwrights, and to the Advisory Committee, who saw fit to include me among the extraordinary dramatists who have received this life-changing gift.”

“The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is extremely proud to honor both Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph with this year’s Steinberg Playwright Awards,” said Jim Steinberg, a member of the Board of Directors of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. “Both playwrights have produced extremely influential and successful work, which is an extraordinary accomplishment for two such young artists. We look forward to seeing many new works by both Ms. Baker and Mr. Joseph as their careers continue to grow.”

The Steinberg Playwright Award is given to dramatists in early and middle stages of their careers, who have distinctive and compelling voices, and whose current bodies of work exhibit exceptional talent, artistic excellence, and continued potential for powerful contributions to the American theater.

“The combination of Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph provides a dazzling example of the range of contemporary American playwriting,” Todd London, Artistic Director, New Dramatists, added. “The devastating and provocative quietude of Annie’s plays is as different as can be from the extravagant, blood-pumping vitality of Rajiv’s. They share, though, a devotion to formal exploration, a pursuit of deep human emotion and, in nearly opposite milieus, a commitment to theatricality.”

“This kind of encouragement and appreciation of my work means the world to me,” Baker said. “Playwriting is a tricky business, and recognition like this lets you know that maybe, just maybe, your work has touched people.”

“Annie Baker is quite simply one of the most exciting and distinctive voices writing in American theater today,” Neil Pepe, Artistic Director of the Atlantic Theater Company and 2013 Advisory Committee Member said. “Her plays are revelatory in their ability to quietly mine the essential humanity of the characters through uncompromising attention to truth and detail. The result is work that is profoundly original, wonderfully comic and deeply heartbreaking.”

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

Rajiv Joseph. Photo by Lia Chang

“It’s a huge honor to even be considered for this award,” Rajiv Joseph said about his selection. “The past recipients of the Steinberg Award are all playwriting heroes of mine, and I’m humbled to join that list of names.”

“Rajiv is a profoundly gifted playwright and creator of some of the most poetic and lyrical, soaring theatrical storytelling today. He is that rare balance of warmth and wisdom, generosity and diligence and perseverance, curiosity and release,” said Jeremy Cohen, Artistic Director of The Playwrights’ Center. “Sometimes when I watch plays, I feel deeply aware of the artifice of the form — but when I’m watching Rajiv’s worlds unfold, I’m constantly reminded that I’m in a place designed to elevate humanity greater than the mundane, yet with the simplicity of breath that he respires into each and every world he creates.”

These honored playwrights are each presented with a monetary award along with “The Mimi,” a statuette designed by Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect David Rockwell.

In 2008, the Board of Directors of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust established an Advisory Committee of prominent theater professionals responsible for establishing the criteria for the Steinberg Playwright Awards, as well as the nomination and selection processes. The 2013 Advisory Committee is comprised of Susan Booth, ALLIANCE THEATRE; Jeremy Cohen, The Playwrights’ Center; Kwame Kwei-Armah, Centerstage; Todd London, New Dramatists; Lynne Meadow, Manhattan Theatre Company;Neil Pepe, Atlantic Theater Company; and Bill Rauch, Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The members of the Board of Directors of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust are Carole A. Krumland, James D. Steinberg, Michael A. Steinberg, Seth M. Weingarten and William D. Zabel.

The Steinberg Playwright Awards and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award are presented in alternate years. Past recipients include:

· David Henry Hwang, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2012

· Lisa D’Amour & Melissa James Gibson, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2011

· Lynn Nottage, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2010

· David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney & Bruce Norris, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2009

· Tony Kushner, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2008

Annie Baker’s full-length plays include The Flick, Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, Body Awareness, and an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, for which she also designed the costumes. Her plays have been produced in more than 100 regional theaters internationally. She is a Residency Five playwright at the Signature Theatre and a member of New Dramatists, MCC’s Playwrights Coalition and Ensemble Studio Theatre. A published anthology of her work, The Vermont Plays, is available from TCG Books. Other honors include a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, USA Artists Collins Fellowship, Lilly Award and a Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship. She teaches playwriting at SUNY Stony Brook, New York University and Barnard College.

Rajiv Joseph was most recently recognized for his play, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, which starred Robin Williams on Broadway. He has also written Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper, The North Pool and The Lake Effect, all of which were originally developed at the Lark Play Development Center. He is the book-writer and co-lyricist for the new Peter Pan musical, Fly, and the co-writer of the upcoming film, “Draft Day.” He also wrote for the TV series “Nurse Jackie” in Seasons 3 and 4.

David Henry Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner and a two-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Hwang’s plays include Bondage, The Dance and the Railroad (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination), Family Devotions (1982 Drama Desk Award nomination), FOB (1981 Obie Award), Golden Child (1997 Obie Award, 1998 Tony Award nomination), M. Butterfly (1988 Tony Award, 1989 Pulitzer Prize finalist) and Yellow Face (2008 Obie Award, 2008 Pulitzer Prize finalist). Hwang also wrote the libretti for three Broadway musicals: Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida (co-author), Disney’s Tarzan, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song (revival, 2002 Tony Award nomination). As America’s most-produced living opera librettist, In opera, his works include four pieces with composer Philip Glass – 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, Icarus at the Edge of Time, Sound and Beauty, and The Voyage – as well as Howard Shore’s The Fly, Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (two 2007 Grammy Awards), and Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (Opernwelt 2007 World Premiere of the Year). Hwang penned the feature films Golden Gate, M. Butterfly, and Possession (co-author), and co-wrote the song “Solo” with Prince. Mr. Hwang has been honored with the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre, the 2012 Asia Society Cultural Achievement Award, and the 2012 China Institute Blue Cloud Award. From 1994-2001, Mr. Hwang served by appointment of President Clinton on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He currently sits on the boards of the Dramatists Guild, the American Theatre Wing, the Lark Play Development Center, and recently became President of Young Playwrights Inc. Hwang is currently Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season. Signature Theatre’s World Premiere of Hwang’s Kung Fu, will star SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE’S Cole Horibe as Bruce Lee. Signature Theatre’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu Stars SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE’s Cole Horibe as Bruce Lee
David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season
About The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust:
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created by Harold Steinberg in 1986 in the names of himself and his late wife Miriam. The Trust’s primary mission is to support and promote the American theater as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American Playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new American plays, and by providing significant support to theater companies across the country.

Since its inception, the Trust has given in excess of $70 million to more than one hundred not-for-profit theater organizations. These gifts have funded countless productions, as well as the commissioning of playwrights, playwriting programs and arts-in-education outreach programs for thousands of children in an effort to create and educated new generations of theatergoers.

The Trust also collaborated with the American Theater Critics Association to create and fund the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. The award is presented annually during the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theater of Louisville. Recipients of this award include Robert Schenkkan, Yussef El Guindi, Bill Cain, E.M. Lewis, Moises Kaufman, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Lee Blessing, Craig Lucas, Lynn Nottage, Nilo Cruz, Horton Foote, Jane Martin and ReGina Taylor.

David Henry Hwang Articles:
Signature Theatre’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu Stars SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE’s Cole Horibe as Bruce Lee
Signature Theatre’s Revival of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Set for Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China, May 9-12, 2013
Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night at Signature Theatre
Signature Theatre extends David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad starring Ruy Iskandar and Yuekun Wu through March 24, 2013
Berkeley Rep Takes First Show to Asia- David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish starring Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, set for Hong Kong Arts Festival, March 1-6, 2013
Ruy Iskandar and Yuekun Wu Set for Signature Theatre’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad, February 5 – March 17, 2013
Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge Star in David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at South Coast Repertory, January 25 – February 24, 2013
Photos: Partying with the Cast of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child; Extended Run Ends December 16, 2012
Signature Theatre’s Production of Golden Child by David Henry Hwang has been extended through December 16, 2012
Greg Watanabe, Julyana Soelistyo and Jennifer Lim Lead the Cast of Signature Theatre’s Production of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child, October 23-December 2, 2012
Berkeley Rep’s Production Photos of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, Starring Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, Extends through October 21, 2012
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Brian d’Arcy James, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space
West Coast Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish at Berkeley Rep stars Michelle Krusiec and Alex Moggridge, August 24-October 7, 2012
New York Foundation for the Arts presents ‘An Evening with David Henry Hwang’ at Barnes & Noble on July 26, 2012
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Oskar Eustis, BD Wong, Brian d’Arcy James, Francis Jue, Jennifer Lim and Leigh Silverman at WNYC’s The Greene Space
WNYC’s The Greene Space presents “An Evening with David Henry Hwang” featuring Oskar Eustis, Brian d’Arcy James, BD Wong, Jennifer Lim, Francis Jue
Filmmaker Justin Lin Acquires Film Rights to David Henry Hwang’s Critically Acclaimed Broadway Comedy Chinglish
The SFIAAFF30 Kicks Off with World Premiere of White Frog Featuring Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum, Jr., Joan Chen, Kelly Hu and BD Wong, at the Castro Theater on March 8
David Henry Hwang to Receive 2012 William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award
Photos & Video: Celebrate Chinese New Year with David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
David Henry Hwang, Kathryn Layng and BD Wong at the Asian American Writers Workshop Literary Awards
Nothing is Sacred in David Henry Hwang’s Comedy of Mistaken Racial Identity
Francis Jue, At Home on the Stage
The Making of the Flower Drum Song Cast Album
Flower Drum Song, An American Story
The Literary Legacy of C.Y. Lee
Click here for more articles on David Henry Hwang.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2013 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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