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Lois Smith, Jessica Hecht and Paula Vogel Among the Honorees at The 4th Annual Lilly Awards

Lois Smith, Jessica Hecht and Paula Vogel Among the Honorees at The 4th Annual Lilly Awards

The Committee for Recognizing Women in Theatre along with Julia Jordan, Theresa Rebeck, Marsha Norman, and Tim Sanford have announced the honorees for the 4th annual Lilly Awards.  The awards will be handed out this evening in NYC at a ceremony at Playwright’s Horizons.

Named for playwright Lillian Hellman, The Lilly Awards were created to recognize the extraordinary contributions made by women to the American Theater.  Producers, playwrights, actors, designers, and directors are honored for their excellence in the theater.

There are two Lifetime Achievement Award winners in 2013: Lois Smith and Mimi Kilgore.  (bios and content from press release)

Lois Smith studied acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors’ Studio. She is a two-time Tony-nominee for her work in Steppenwolf’s Buried Child and The Grapes of Wrath.  She is an ensemble member of Steppenwolf.  She made her Broadway debut in 1952 in the comedy Time out for Ginger, other Broadway credits include: The Iceman Cometh (1973) and Orpheus Descending (1957). In 2006, she won a Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards for her performance in The Trip To Bountiful (Signature).  Other recent NYC theater credits include Heartless (Sam Shepherd, Signature), After the Revolution (Amy Herzog, Playwright’s Horizons), and The Illusion (Tony Kushner, Signature).

Ms. Smith made her film debut in 1955 East of Eden opposite James Dean, and appeared in such seminal films as Five Easy Pieces (National Society of Film Critics Award), Fried Green Tomatoes, The Pledge, Minority Report, Twister, How to Make an American Quilt, Fatal Attraction, Next Stop Greenwich Village, and Dead Man Walking.  Her TV credits include: soap operas (Another World, Somerset, The Edge of Night, All My Children, One Life to Live), prime-time dramas (The Defenders, Dr. Kildare, Route 66, thirtysomething, The Practice, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Desperate Housewives, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Cold Case and True Blood), and sitcoms (Just Shoot Me! and Frasier).  Her career has spanned five decades working continuously in theater, film and television and is still going strong.  

Mimi Kilgore – founder of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

In 1978, Mimi Kilgore founded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize to honor women writers and as a tribute to her sister. It is given annually to recognize women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre.  The Prize is administered in Houston, London and New York by a board of directors who choose six Judges each year, three from each side of the Atlantic.  The Prize currently awards $50,000 annually to the Finalists.  Mimi has cultivated a community of strong women writers, five of which have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize.

Additional honorees include:

Jessica Hecht

Jill Du Boff

Paula Vogel

Julie Crosby

Laura Marks

Tanya Barfield

Lear deBessonet  

Jiehae Park will be honored with the Leah Ryan Prize, and architect Denise Scott Brown will also be honored with a Lilly Award.  

Here’s what playwright Teresa Rebeck said about the importance of the Lilly’s:

Several years ago, a group of artists came together to address a growing concern that truly brilliant work by women actors, writers, directors and designers was being overlooked by the theater awards committee.  The Lillies were formed to address the real need to honor these artists and recognize, as a community, what they have accomplished.  We hope that one day the other awards committees will figure out why their selection process excludes women.  Until then, we celebrate the Lillies, and the women they honor. Once again the girls have rocked it this year.

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