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New Dramatists Honor Julie Taymor At Annual Luncheon 5/18

New Dramatists, Tony Honor recipient and the nation's premiere playwright development workshop, proudly announces that two-time Tony Award winner Julie Taymor will be honored with their 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award at its 61st Annual Spring Luncheon tribute, to be held Tuesday, May 18th at the New York Marriott Marquis. Ms. Taymor's award will be presented to her by Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren, who stars in Taymor's soon-to-be-released film adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest. Thomas Schumacher of Disney Theatricals serves as the Luncheon Chair. Disney Theatricals and Robert Boyett are the benefactors for New Dramatists 61st Annual Spring Luncheon.

Each year, New Dramatists salutes an individual who has made an outstanding artistic contribution to the American theatre. After Taymor won the prestigious MacArthur "genius" award for her innovative work in theatre in 1991, she received two 1998 Tony Awards for her work on The Lion King, one for direction and one for costume design, making her the first woman to receive a Tony Award for61ST ANNUAL SPRING LUNCHEON directing a musical. Taymor's other Broadway credits include the Tony Award nominated Lincoln Center Theatre production of Juan Darien and the Drama Desk nominated The Green Bird. For the Metropolitan Opera, Taymor directed an innovative production of The Magic Flute which went on to become the first of a series of Live on the Big Screen presentations of MET operas downloaded via satellite to movie theatres across North America and parts of Europe. Taymor directed the opera Grendel for Los Angeles Opera, which was subsequently presented as part of the Summer 2006 Lincoln Center Festival. Taymor's film directing credits include Titus, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus; the Academy Award winning Frida, based on the life of artist Frida Kahlo; and the Golden Globe Award nominated Across the Universe, a 1960s love story set to the music of The Beatles. Taymor will be represented on Broadway next season with Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark. Taymor will direct the new musical featuring a score by Bono and The Edge and a book by Taymor and New Dramatists Alumnus Glen Berger.

"Julie Taymor is all artist, says Todd London, Artistic Director, New Dramatists. "She's a director, designer, writer, film-maker, visual visionary. She does what our writers do--creates wonder out of nothing--and she does it majestically, with rampant imagination. We're honored to honor her, because her example of unbounded creativity sets a standard for all of us. Her art is something to marvel at. It's something to aspire to."

Past luncheon honorees have included Horton Foote, Edward Albee, Harvey Fierstein, Chita Rivera, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Julie Andrews, Glenn Close, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Jerry Herman, Terrence McNally, Barbara Cook, John Kander & Fred Ebb, August Wilson, George C. Wolfe and Gwen Verdon.

The luncheon will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis (1535 Broadway, between 45th and 46th Streets) on Tuesday, May 18th, beginning with a champagne reception at 11:15 AM and ending at 2:30 PM. Tickets are $300 (a portion of which is tax-deductible). For tickets, call (212) 757-6960.

New Dramatists is dedicated to the playwright, and pursues a singular mission: to find gifted playwrights and give them the time, space, and tools to develop their craft, so that they may fulfill their potential and make lasting contributions to the theatre. Regarded as a national leader in playwright support and advocacy, New Dramatists has remained a pioneer in the field of new play development since our inception in 1949. We offer our company of 50 playwrights a home base and self-guided laboratory for seven years, free of charge, in the company of a gifted community of peers. New Dramatists' alumni include some of the most revered and influential playwrights of our time: Robert Anderson, Kia Corthron, Nilo Cruz, Horton Foote, Richard Foreman, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, David Lindsay-Abaire, Eduardo Machado, Donald Margulies, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, John Patrick Shanley, Mac Wellman, August Wilson, Doug Wright, and many more. Current playwrights and alumni have won 15 Pulitzers (including 7 of the last 10), 24 Tonys®, 68 Obies, 17 Drama Desk Awards, 4 MacArthur Fellowships, and 12 Susan Smith Blackburn Awards. New Dramatists itself is the recipient of a 2001 Tony Honor and a 2005 Obie Award, in recognition that our writers are, as our Tony put it, "blessing" the future of the American theatre.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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