Lynn Nottage To Receive The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award
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."
Lynne Meadow commented, "Lynn Nottage is one of America's most thrilling playwrights. Her body of work spans the gamut of theatrical genres while always expressing an essential, noble humanity." David Emmes agreed, "Lynn's work is marked by a unique ability to balance lyricism and unflinching honesty, to find humor amidst suffering and hardship, and to identify the universal strands in American experience in an emotionally compelling way."
"Her greatest talent, it seems to me, is her bottomless, versatile, compassionate imagination," said Todd London. "Hers is a voice of many voices, each rooted in the full and changeable humanity of the characters she imagines. Her project is no less than to change the world through empathy."
Polly Carl concluded by saying, "When we first starting talking about Lynn I was well aware of the impact Ruined had on me, it felt recent and its effect still palpable. But we were looking at playwrights with a body of work and it was crucial to retrace the steps of the careers of the playwrights we were discussing. So I went back to one of Lynn's plays I hadn't thought of in awhile - Crumbs from the Table of Joy. It made me remember the entirety of the impact of her work on my experience of theater in this country--her poetic sensibility, her passionate articulation of the human condition, and the way her writing weaves together seemingly unspeakable public and private truths."
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.
Lynn's play By the Way, Meet Vera Stark will premiere at Second Stage this spring. Her other plays include, RUINED (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, the Lucille Lortel Award, NY Drama Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards; MTC and Goodman Theatre, Almeida), Intimate Apparel (NY Drama Critics Circle's Best Play; Roundabout, CenterStage, South Coast Rep); Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Obie Award; Playwrights Horizons, London's Tricycle Theatre); Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por'knockers; and Poof!. Nottage is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Horton Foote Prize, Rockefeller Award, 2007 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant," The National Black Theatre Festival's August Wilson Playwriting Award, the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama, the 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting, and the Lucille Lortel Foundation. Lynn's most recent publications include: RUINED (TCG) Intimate Apparel and Fabulation (TCG) and an anthology of her plays, Crumbs from the Table of Joy and Other Plays (TCG). She is a member of The Dramatists Guild, an alumna of New Dramatists, and a graduate oF Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is a visiting lecturer. She resides in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.