Meryl Streep has a new award to add to her three Oscars: The film and stage superstar will receive the 14th annual Monte Cristo Award from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, where she began her career almost 40 years ago. The award will be presented by her friend and Yale classmate Joe Grifasi at a gala dinner on April 21, 2014, at an as-yet unnamed venue.
The Monte Cristo Award is presented each year to a prominent theater artist in recognition of a distinguished career exemplifying Eugene O’Neill’s “pioneering spirit, unceasing artistic commitment and excellence.” Past recipients include Christopher Plummer, James Earl Jones, Kevin Spacey, Zoe Caldwell and Brian Dennehy.
“I’m honored to receive this award from an organization so vital to the discovery and support of new artists and work for the American theater, including my friend and Yale classmate Wendy Wasserstein,” Streep said in a statement. After graduating from Vassar and Yale School of Drama, the actress landed one of her first professional jobs at the 1975 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, taking on roles in five plays over six weeks.
An Oscar winner for Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady, Streep stars in the soon-to-be-released film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County and will play the Witch in Rob Marshall’s forthcoming film version of Sondheim’s Into the Woods.