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Eugene O'Neill Theater Center announces 17th Monte Cristo Award honoring JUDITH LIGHT


Photo: Luke Fontana

Star of Stage and Screen Recognized with Prestigious Award Director Thomas Kail to Present, May 21

Waterford, CT — The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center announces that iconic stage and film actress Judith Light will receive the 17th Monte Cristo Award.  An alum of the O’Neill, Judith first performed at the O’Neill’s 1977 National Playwrights Conference. A gala dinner will be held in her honor at 583 Park Avenue (New York) on Sunday, May 21, followed by a special program hosted by O’Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway and an award presentation by director and O’Neill alumnus Thomas Kail.

The O’Neill annually bestows its Monte Cristo Award on a prominent theater artist whose lifetime work has had an extraordinary impact on American theater, in memory of its namesake. The gala event supports the Center’s commitment to developing new work and new artists for the stage.

O’Neill Executive Director Preston Whiteway remarks, “Beloved the world over, Judith Light brings artistry of the highest caliber to every role she takes on.. Her gifts to bring the nuances of each character and their intrinsic humanity, are extraordinary – as is her lifelong commitment to the American theater. Twice awarded the Tony Award for her remarkable portrayals on stage, she began her professional career at the O’Neill with Wendy Wasserstein’s break out play, Uncommon Women and Others.  Judith’s life work – her career on stage, screen and her advocacy for the LGBTQ community – truly make her an uncommon woman of the highest caliber, and we are delighted to recognize her with our 2017 Monte Cristo Award.

Star of stage and screen, Judith Light received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and has worked in repertory theatres in the US and Canada, as well as performing in Europe.  Her Broadway debut was in A Doll’s House with Liv Ullman, followed by a season at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference (performing in three plays over the summer of 1977, including Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women and Others). In 1999 she starred in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Wit in New York and also at the Kennedy Center, winning the Helen Hayes Award; soon after she played the title role in Hedda Gabler for Michael Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre in D.C.  For three consecutive years, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a play. She won back-to-back Tony Awards for Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities (2012) and Richard Greenberg’s The Assembled Parties (2013). She also won back-to-back Drama Desk Awards for those same performances.   Judith is currently starring with Al Pacino in the play God Looked Away at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Judith’s television career began with her two-time Emmy Award-winning Best Actress  turn on One Life to Live, followed by the comedy series, Who’s the Boss and 15 movies of the week. She played Claire Meade in the Emmy-winning ABC series, Ugly Betty and was Emmy-nominated for her performance.  She is currently on the groundbreaking show, Transparent streaming now on Amazon Prime.

Judith is also an advocate for HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ causes; supporting such organizations as Point Foundation and Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids. She is also very active with the D.C.-based peace building organization, Friends Committee on National Legislation.

Tickets are available at www.theoneill.org/montecristoaward.  For sponsorship opportunities or additional information about the event, call 860-443-5378, or email events@theoneill.org.

EVENT: Sunday, May 21, 2017, 6:30pm at 583 Park Avenue (NYC)

INFORMATION & RSVP: www.theoneill.org/join-us/special-events/mca


About the Monte Cristo Award:

The Monte Cristo Award is presented to a prominent individual each year in recognition of a distinguished career exemplifying Eugene O’Neill’s “pioneering spirit, unceasing artistic commitment, and excellence,” and furthering the American theater.

Past recipients of the Award include actors Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Nathan Lane, Christopher Plummer, James Earl Jones, Kevin Spacey, Jason Robards, Jr.,  Zoe Caldwell, Brian Dennehy, and Karl Malden; playwrights August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, Edward Albee, and Neil Simon; directors Harold Prince and George C. Wolfe; and Arthur & Barbara Gelb.

> Web: www.theoneill.org/montecristoaward

> Twitter: #ONeillMCA (@O’Neill_Center)

 About the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center:

Founded in 1964, the O’Neill is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the American theater, and named in honor of Eugene O’Neill, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and America’s only playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.  The O’Neill has been home to more than 1,000 new works for the stage and thousands more emerging artists. Scores of projects developed at the O’Neill have gone on to full production at theaters around the world. O’Neill programs include the National Playwrights Conference, National Music Theater Conference, National Critics Institute,National Puppetry Conference, Cabaret & Performance Conference, and National Theater Institute – which offers six credit-earning undergraduate training programs. In addition, the O’Neill owns and operates Monte Cristo Cottage as a museum open to the public. The O’Neill is the recipient of two Tony Awards and National Medal of Arts. www.theoneill.org.

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