Playwright David Henry-Hwang wins 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award

Paula David – Fourth Estate Cooperative Reporter

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Lauded playwright David Henry Hwang has won this year’s Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Trust announced Thursday.

The award, which is part of the 5th Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards, is considered the richest honor in American theater, with its monetary prize amounting to about $200,000.

Hwang, who has won a Tony in 1988 for his play “M. Butterfly,” said he is thankful for the honor.

As reported by Broadwayworld, the 55-year-old playwright said, “I’ve been very fortunate to have found something I wanted to do with my life, and a place in the American Theater. Receiving the Mimi Award is an extravagant blessing, which overwhelms me with gratitude. Since learning the news, I’ve been able to turn down some commercial media work to focus on my theater projects. 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.”

The honored artist told the New York Times, “This award literally buys me time to focus mostly on my theater work. Even if you’re lucky to have a play on Broadway like ‘Chinglish,’ you don’t necessarily earn enough off it to support the years it takes to get there.” Hwang’s latest play “Chinglish” ran on Broadway last year. His other works include “Yellow Face”, “Golden Child” and “The Dance and the Railroad”.

Meanwhile, Jim Steinberg, a member of the Trust’s Board of Directors, was enthusiastic about this year’s recipient. He said, “For 32 years Mr. Hwang has written thoughtful, provocative plays that have engaged and challenged audiences throughout the world. The breadth of his canon encompassing not only dramatic works, but also musical theatre, children’s theatre and opera have placed him at the apogee of a career in the theatre. We look forward to seeing many new works by Mr. Hwang in the years to come.”

The Trust’s Advisory Committee has chosen the Asian American artist for his remarkable artistic accomplishment. The award will be presented to Hwang on October 29 at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York.

The Steinberg Award was established in 2008 to honor playwrights exhibiting outstanding abilities. Previous Steinberg awardees include Tony Kushner, David Adjmi, Lynn Nottage and Melissa James Gibson.

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