Playwright, actor, professor, and author Anna Deavere Smith will receive this year's Rachel Crothers Leadership Award from The League of Professional Theatre Women. The award will be presented at the Theatre Women Awards Luncheon March 27 at the Yotel Hotel's Green Room 42 from 1-3 PM.
The award honors a woman in the theatre industry who has "made significant contributions to the American theatre while distinguishing herself in service for a cause that betters society and country." The award is named for Rachel Crothers, who was a successful female playwright and director on Broadway who predominantly worked on the Main Stem 1906-1938. Crothers was one of the seven women in theatre who came together in 1917 to organize the theatrical community to support the war effort during World Wars I and II.
Smith has previously received two Tony nominations, a MacArthur Fellowship, a Drama Desk Award, the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal, and been a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize, among other accolades. These recognitions honor her plays Fires in the Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles, Let Me Down Easy, and Notes from the Field. She's also graced the screen in Inventing Anna, The West Wing, Nurse Jackie, Black-ish, Philadelphia, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, and Here Today.
"We are deeply honored to bestow this Rachel Crothers Award upon a theatre woman on the front lines; one who deploys her gifts and talents to address local issues of national importance through the creation of a new form of theatre at the intersection of journalism and performance,” said Yvette Heyliger, co-chair of the LPTW Rachel Crothers Leadership Award Committee with Margot Astrachan and Shellen Lubin.
Smith will also serve as a presenter at the luncheon alongside Richarda Abrams, Stephanie Berry, Stella Heyliger-Mulatu, Ang Lee, Kate Mueth, and Daryl Roth.
Other awards being given at the ceremony will include the Josephine Abady Award to Jacquelyn Bell, the Lee Reynolds Award to Melody Brooks, the Lucille Lortel Grant to Tess Howsam, the Ruth Morley Design Award to Amy Stoller, a Lifetime Achievement Award to Lenore DeKoven, and the LPTW Special Award for Meritorious Service to Yvette Heyliger and Lorca Peress.