Playwright Lynn Nottage has been named the recipient of the 2010 'Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award', presented by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, it was announced today. The honor comes with a cash prize of $200,000, making this by far the largest award ever created to honor and encourage artistic achievement in the American theater. The 3rd Annual 'Mimi' Awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held Monday, November 8, 2010 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center Theater (150 West 65th Street).
The 'Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award' honors the artistic achievement of an American playwright whose body of work has made significant contributions to the American theater.
The first 'Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award' went to Tony Kushner in 2008. Last year, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust presented David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bruce Norris with the first 'Steinberg Playwright Awards'. The Advisory Committee and the Steinberg Trust honored Mr. Norris for his body of work and outstanding potential (for which he received a $50,000 cash award), and Messrs. Adjmi and McCraney for being promising new voices in the theater (for which they each received a cash award of $25,000). The playwrights were also presented with 'The Mimi,' a statue designed by Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architect David Rockwell. The 'Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award' (for established playwrights) and the 'Steinberg Playwright Awards' (for playwrights in earlier stages of their careers), both known as 'The Mimi,' are presented in alternating years.
On behalf of The Steinberg Trust, Board member James D. Steinberg, said "We are thrilled to be celebrating the singular achievements of Lynn Nottage who has amassed an inspiring body of work, and whose future plays we very much look forward to. We hope that this support will be of great assistance as she continues to write for the theater."
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 process. The current members of the Advisory Committee are Susan Booth, Artistic Director of the ALLIANCE THEATRE; Polly Carl, Director of Artistic Development, Steppenwolf Theatre Company; David Emmes, Producing Artistic Director, South Coast Repertory; Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, The Public Theater; Todd London, Artistic Director of New Dramatists; playwright Eduardo Machado; and Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director, Manhattan Theatre Club.
On behalf of the Advisory Committee, Susan Booth said "The unassailable humanity of Lynn's writing makes us understand, not just in our minds, but in our core, the lives of the unseen. She affords a kind of dignity to her characters and their stories that is bracing in its reminder to pay attention; she's not simply writing great plays -- she's restoring compassion as a critical filter in our audiences."
"Lynn Nottage has produced a distinguished and exhilarating body of work, plays that consistently demand that we look at the world around us with greater compassion, engagement and responsibility," continued Oskar Eustis. "She's not only a wonderful writer; she's an exemplary citizen and public intellectual. Her writing embodies an expansive, ambitious model of making theater that matters, and she's a wonderful recipient of the second Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award."