The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is presenting Stephen Adly Guirgis with the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award at the Seventh Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards, on Monday, November 17, 2014 at Lincoln Center Theater. Guirgis will receive a cash award of $200,000 and “The Mimi,” a statuette designed by Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect David Rockwell.
The evening will feature opening remarks by Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director, CENTERSTAGE, followed by readings of Guirgis’ work. Yul Vázquez and Felix Solis will perform a scene from The Motherf***er with the Hat; Ellen Burstyn and Kevin Corrigan will read an excerpt from The Little Flower of East Orange; and Elizabeth Rodriguez will round out the performances of Guirgis’ past work with a monologue from The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. The evening will also feature a special premiere reading from a new piece by Guirgis, performed by Stephen McKinley Henderson, Ron Cephas Jonesand Neil Tyrone Pritchard.
Liza Colón-Zayas will introduce Guirgis prior to the presentation of the award by Michael Steinberg of The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, followed by a few words from Guirgis himself.
The Mimi Awards promote theater as a vital part of our culture by nurturing American playwrights and encouraging the development and production of new American plays.
“I am beyond humbled to receive this incredibly generous affirmation and support from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust,” Guirgis said. “We live in a world of, ‘Take the money and run.’ This award is especially meaningful and inspiring to me personally because the message here seems to be, ‘Take the money, and STAY.’ It’s a privilege and an honor to be a worker in our theater community. I only hope to reward your faith in me by doing the best work I can for as long as I’m able and by helping young artists in any way I can. Playwrights and all artists in the theater do need support. I am grateful, proud, blown away and tremendously thankful for everything this award says and gives. I’m staying. Tomorrow starts today.”
The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award is presented biennially to honor and encourage the artistic excellence and achievement of an American playwright whose body of work has made significant contributions to the American theater.
“There is no one in contemporary American theatre like Stephen Adly Guirgis who brutally captures the largely forgotten and ignored segments of our country’s population and brings them to startling life,” Chay Yew, a member of the 2014 Advisory Committee and Artistic Director at Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, said. “Play after play, Stephen’s body of work continues to be audacious, tackling, dissecting and celebrating society’s unsung underdogs. His imagination is dazzling; the command of his theatrical language is muscular and assured. Stephen is the poet and champion of our American underclasses.”
“Among the many exceptional candidates we considered for the 2014 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, Stephen Adly Guirgis stood out for his fresh, volcanic voice and genuinely original body of work,” Paige Evans, 2014 Advisory Committee member and Artistic Director of LCT3, added. “Stephen writes raw, volatile, poetic and wildly funny plays about urban characters trapped in marginal lives. His plays brim with humanity, candor and empathy for the dispossessed characters he so vividly brings to life. ”
“The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is extremely proud to honor Stephen Adly Guirgis with this year’s Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award,” said William D. Zabel, a member of the Board of Directors of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. “His work has helped shape the landscape of modern theater across the globe in a way that is unparalleled, and we look forward to seeing his work continue its influence for years to come.”
Guirgis is a member and former co artistic director of LAByrinth Theater Company. His plays have been produced on five continents and throughout the United States. They include: Our Lady of 121st Street (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle Best Play Nominations), Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award, Barrymore Award, Olivier Nomination for London’s Best New Play), In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings (2007 LA Drama Critics Best Play, Best Writing Award), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (10 Best Time Magazine and Entertainment Weekly) and The Little Flower of East Orange, with Ellen Burstyn and Michael Shannon. All five plays were directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and were originally produced by LAByrinth.
His most recent play, Between Riverside and Crazy recently completed a sold out run at The Atlantic Theater Company and will transfer to Second Stage Theatre in 2015. His 2011 play, The Motherf***er with the Hat was directed by Anna D. Shapiro and marked his third consecutive world premiere co-production with The Public Theater and LAByrinth. In London, his plays have premiered at The Donmar Warehouse, The Almeida, The Hampstead and at The Arts Theater in the West End. Other plays include Den of Thieves and Dominica The Fat Ugly Ho for the 2006 E.S.T. Marathon. He has received the Yale Wyndham-Campbell Prize, a PEN/Laura Pels Award, a Whiting Award and a TCG fellowship. He is also a New Dramatists Alumnae and a member of MCC’s Playwright’s Coalition, The Ojai Playwrights Festival, New River Dramatists and LAByrinth Theater Company.
The Steinberg Playwright Awards and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award are presented in alternate years. Past recipients include:
· Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2013
· David Henry Hwang, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2012
· Lisa D’Amour and Melissa James Gibson, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2011
· Lynn Nottage, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2010
· David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bruce Norris, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2009
· Tony Kushner, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2008
These playwrights were 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 Steinberg Trust created an Advisory Committee of prominent theater professionals to establish the awards criteria, nominate individual candidates and select each recipient. The 2014 Advisory Committee is comprised of Jeremy Cohen, Producing Artistic Director, The Playwrights’ Center; Paige Evans, Artistic Director, LCT3; Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director, CENTERSTAGE; Neil Pepe, Artistic Director, Atlantic Theater Company; Bill Rauch, Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Carole Rothman, Artistic Director, Second Stage Theatre; and Chay Yew, Artistic Director, Victory Gardens Theater.
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.
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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