Mary McDonnell to Receive 2018 Pell Lifetime Achievement Award
Trinity Repertory Company announced today that actress Mary McDonnell will be honored with the 2018 Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts at the theater's 22nd annual Pell Awards Gala on Monday, May 21, 2018. A two-time Oscar nominee for Dances with Wolves and Passion Fish, McDonnell's theater, film and television career has spanned more than four decades with dynamic character portrayals in period and present-day roles, including TNT's The Closer and Major Crimes, Syfy's Battlestar Galactica, Donnie Darko, and Sneakers.
Artistic Director Curt Columbus said, "Mary McDonnell's extraordinary work exemplifies the artist as a socially responsible citizen. Her portrayals of strong women, from Stands with a Fist to President Roslin to Sharon Raydor, have inspired and captivated millions. Trinity Rep is thrilled to honor Ms. McDonnell's talent and impact with this year's Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts."
McDonnell will join previously announced local honorees: Pawtucket-based designer and artist Morris Nathanson (receiving the Rhode Island Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts); longtime Providence philanthropist and arts advocate Jane S. Nelson (receiving the Charles Sullivan Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts); and Jeannine Chartier (receiving the Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts).
Trinity Rep's 2018 Pell Awards Gala will be held the evening of Monday, May 21, 2018 at the WaterFire Arts Center in Providence. The annual fundraising event is co-chaired by Sally Lapides and Art Solomon and Jonathan M. Nelson. Honorary co-chairs are Clay Pell, Nick and Annie Pell, Tripler Pell and Tawfik Hammoud, Christina Neal Pell, and Eames Yates, Jr. The honorary event committee includes the entire Rhode Island congressional delegation: Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Representative James Langevin, and Representative David Cicilline.
The creative black-tie event will begin at 6:00 pm with a VIP cocktail reception. The awards ceremony and seated dinner reception will begin at 7:00 pm. Guests will enjoy mixing and mingling with artists, business, political, and social leaders; catering by Russell Morin Fine Catering; and unforgettable moments as the theater honors individuals who are committed to bettering the world through art.
Tickets for Trinity Rep's Pell Awards Gala are $500 (VIP) and $250. Tables, sponsorships and event program ads are also available. All proceeds benefit Trinity Rep's artistic programs. For more information or to purchase tickets, sponsorships or ads, visit www.trinityrep.com/pell or call (401) 453-9237.
Mary McDonnell received her first Oscar nomination and Golden Globe Nomination, for her portrayal of Stands with a Fist, a white woman raised by the Sioux Indians, in Kevin Costner's Oscar-winning film Dances with Wolves. McDonnell also garnered a Best Actress Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of a soap opera star who becomes paraplegic in John Sayles' critically acclaimed Passion Fish. McDonnell's extensive list of film credits include the Lawrence Kasdan films Grand Canyon and Mumford, Sneakers opposite Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier and Sir Ben Kingsley, Roland Emmerich's smash Independence Day, with Bill Pullman and Will Smith, acclaimed art house cult-hit Donnie Darko and Margin Call, which also earned her the Robert Altman Award at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards.On the small screen, McDonnell starred in four seasons on the Syfy Network's award-winning series Battlestar Galactica in her critically-praised performance as the President of the Universe, Laura Roslin. The role earned McDonnell a Peabody Award and AFI deemed the series "TV Program of the Year" for two years in a row. McDonnell garnered an Emmy nomination for her recurring guest role on the NBC television series ER. Some of her other television credits include the critically acclaimed third season of FX's Fargo, ABC hit-series Grey's Anatomy, the CBS series High Society, TNT's adaptation of Arthur Miller's The American Clock, the critically acclaimed CBS movie Behind The Mask, and Lifetime's Two Small Voices.
McDonnell most recently starred as Commander Sharon Raydor on TNT's hit drama series Major Crimes, a spin-off of the series The Closer, where McDonnell originated the role and earned a Primetime Emmy Nomination.McDonnell began her career in theater and has starred in a wide variety of both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. She received an Obie Award for her performance in Emily Mann's Still Life and has starred in off-Broadway productions such as Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child, John Patrick Shanley's Savage in Limbo, John O'Keefe's All Night Long, Michael Cristofer's Black Angel, Kathleen Tolan's A Weekend Near Madison, Paula Cizmar's Death of a Miner, and Dennis McIntyre's National Anthem. Her Broadway credits include Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke, the title role in Wendy Wasserstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles and Emily Mann's Execution of Justice.
McDonnell received the 2017 Leadership Excellence Advocacy (LEA) Award from Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT). In 2015, she was honored by Palm Springs Women in Film and Television with The Gena Award at The Broken Glass Awards, celebrating women who have broken the glass ceiling. Inspired by Gena Rowlands, The Gena Award recognizes an actress whose consummate artistry and body of work is admired worldwide.
Trinity Rep's Pell Awards were established in 1997 to honor the legacy of Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) and recognize artistic excellence in Rhode Island and the New England region as well as on the national level. Between 1961 and 1997, Senator Pell held influential Senate posts in the fields of human resources, education, arms control, health, human rights, foreign relations, the environment, and the arts and humanities. Throughout his life, Senator Pell worked to support the arts and provide new opportunities for artists. He was the principal sponsor of landmark legislation that established the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities in 1965, and chaired the Senate Education and Arts subcommittee. He also took a lead role in eliminating barriers to higher education with his legislation creating the Basic Educational Opportunity Grants, which Congress named "Pell Grants" in 1980.
Past Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts honorees include: Jane Alexander, Kate Burton, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Viola Davis, Olympia Dukakis, Laurie and Oskar Eustis, Adrian Hall, Richard and Sharon Jenkins, Jessica Lange, Arthur Miller, Liza Minnelli, Toni Morrison, Robert Redford, Chita Rivera, Jason Robards, Maurice Sendak, Beverly Sills, and Stephen Sondheim.