The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust today announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury and Horton Foote Prize-winning playwright Lauren Yee are the recipients of 2019 Steinberg Playwright Awards. The acclaimed writers will be honored at the 12th-Annual “Mimi” Awards, presented on Monday, January 13, 2020, at Lincoln Center Theater. The “Mimi” Awards are presented annually to honor the outstanding artistry and accomplishments of some of the most gifted American playwrights.
“I am so honored by this prize; it’s an awe inspiring list of playwrights to be among! I’m so grateful to the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for strengthening our theatrical ecosystem by supporting a diverse variety of artists and theaters, and thankful to the committee for their consideration,” said Jackie Sibblies Drury.
“Playwrights create the blueprints for worlds shaded in and populated by a village of collaborators. That village includes supporters like Steinberg. The Trust has had a huge impact on my work and career, both through this award and through its support of America’s regional theaters. This prize deepens that relationship and focuses me on the work that I might do in the future,” said Lauren Yee.
The Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented biennially to playwrights in early and middle stages of their careers, who have distinctive and compelling voices, and whose current bodies of work exhibit exceptional talent and artistic excellence. The awards celebrate the accomplishments of some of the most gifted up-and-coming American playwrights and honor the promise they hold for the future of American theatre. Each recipient will receive a cash award of $50,000.
“The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is deeply honored to recognize the remarkable careers of Jackie and Lauren to date. Their work has made an indelible impact in a remarkably short amount of time, and we look forward to watching their powerful ideas continue to influence the lives of all who have the privilege of experiencing them onstage,” said Trustee, Jim Steinberg.
”With humor, imagination, and insight, Lauren Yee writes plays that explore family stories, history and culture, often through the lives of Asian American immigrants and their descendants. Her most recent works, Cambodian Rock Band and The Great Leap, combine deeply personal stories and politically charged events across international borders. Lauren Yee has become a major new voice in American Theatre,” stated Advisory Committee Member, Kent Thompson.
“Jackie Sibblies Drury is a preternaturally disruptive architect of theatrical event. Her plays consider not only what is being dramatized but also who is watching, and what does that mean? How is an audience involved in this? She creates dynamic encounters that demand something more than passive spectatorship. Her formalism is not academic, nor merely an aesthetic pleasure, but rather, an expression of her interest in the inextricable intertwine of content and structure. She is, in a word, indispensable — and deeply deserving of celebration,” said Advisory Committee Member, Sarah Lunnie.
“The future of the American Theater is in fantastically talented hands. Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lauren Yee are both breathtakingly brilliant, formally innovative playwrights who broaden our world with integrity and originality. We are lucky to have them, and proud to have them,” said Advisory Committee Member, Oskar Eustis.
The Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award and Steinberg Playwright Awards are presented in alternate years. Past recipients include:
- Suzan-Lori Parks, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2018
· Ayad Akhtar and Lucas Hnath, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2017
· Sarah Ruhl, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2016
· Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2015
· Stephen Adly Guirgis, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2014
· Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2013
· David Henry Hwang, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2012
· Lisa D’Amour and Melissa James Gibson, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2011
· Lynn Nottage, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2010
· David Adjmi, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Bruce Norris, Steinberg Playwright Awards, 2009
· Tony Kushner, Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2008
Along with a monetary award, playwrights receive “The Mimi,” a statuette designed by David Rockwell, Tony Award winner (She Loves Me), scenic designer and architect.
In 2008, the Board of Directors created an advisory committee of prominent theater professionals to establish the awards criteria, nominate individual candidates and select each recipient.
The 2019 Advisory Committee is comprised of Hana S. Sharif, Artistic Director, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Sarah Lunnie, Dramaturg; Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, Public Theatre; Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director, Manhattan Theatre Club; Molly Smith, Artistic Director, Arena Stage; Kent Thompson, Theatre Director, Producer and Author; and Les Waters, Theatre Director.
The Board of Trustees of The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is made up of Susan C. Frunzi, Carole A. Krumland, James D. Steinberg, Michael A. Steinberg,Seth M. Weingarten, and William D. Zabel.
Jackie Sibblies Drury is a Brooklyn-based playwright. Her plays include Fairview (Pulitzer Prize, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize); Marys Seacole (OBIE Award); We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915; and Really. Drury’s plays have been presented byYoung Vic (upcoming 2019), Soho Rep, Theater for a New Audience, LCT3, Berkeley Rep, New York City Players and Abrons Arts Center, Soho Rep., Victory Gardens, Trinity Rep, Matrix Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Undermain Theatre, InterAct Theatre, Company One and The Bush Theatre in London, among others. Her work has been developed at The Bellagio Center, Sundance, The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ars Nova, A.C.T, Soho Rep. Writer/Director Lab, New York Theatre Workshop, The Bushwick Starr, The LARK, and The MacDowell Colony. Drury has received numerous prizes, including a Windham-Campbell Literary Prize in Drama, a Helen Merrill Playwriting Award and a United States Artists Fellowship.
Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band, with music by Dengue Fever, premiered at South Coast Rep, subsequent productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Signature Theatre, Portland Center Stage, and Jungle Theatre. Her play The Great Leap has been produced at the Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, Atlantic Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arts Club, InterAct Theatre, and Steppenwolf, with future productions at Long Wharf and Asolo Rep/Miami New Drama. Honors include the Doris Duke Artists Award, Whiting Award, Steinberg/ATCA Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, Horton Foote Prize, Kesselring Prize, Primus Prize, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton, and the #1 and #2 plays on the 2017 Kilroys List. She’s a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre, New Dramatists member, Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member, and Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. Her TV work includes Pachinko (Apple) and Soundtrack(Netflix). She is currently under commission from Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage, and South Coast Rep. She completed her BA at Yale and her MFA at UCSD.
The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust was created by Harold Steinberg in 1986 in his name and the name of 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 providing significant support to not-for-profit theater companies across the country.
Since its inception, the Trust has given more than $100 million to more than a 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 educate new generations of theatergoers.
The Trust also collaborated with the American Theater Critics Association to create and fund the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award. That award is presented annually during the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theater of Louisville. Recipients of this award include Lauren Yee, Michael Cristofer, Qui Nguyen, Rebecca Gilman, Lauren Gunderson, 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.