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Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph to Be Honored with Steinberg Playwright 'Mimi' Awards on 11/18

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust today announced it will honor playwrights 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. The "Mimi" Awards are 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.

"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."

"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."

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.

"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."

These honored playwrights are each presented with a monetary award along with "The Mimi," a statuette designed by Tony Award-nominated scenic designer and architectDavid 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's work includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Tarzan. 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. He received the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels and 2012 William Inge Awards and is currently the Residency One Playwright at New York City's Signature Theatre. Hwang serves on the Boards of the Dramatists Guild, Lark Play Development Center, American Theatre Wing, The Actors Fund and Young Playwrights Inc.

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.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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