The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., has selected Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham as the 2012 recipient of The William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre (Will Award). Abraham will be honored at the Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala hosted by STC at Sidney Harman Hall, Oct. 15. This year’s Gala will be inspired by Shakespeare’s great characters.
The Will Award is an annual honor presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company to recognize an artist who has made a significant contribution to classical theatre in America. Past recipients include Annette Bening, Sir Ian McKellen, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Dame Judi Dench, Fiona Shaw, Ralph Fiennes, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Dame Maggie Smith, Hal Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, Sam Waterston, Lynn Redgrave, Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Plummer, Kevin Kline, the late Joseph Papp, and Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn.
F. Murray Abraham won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus. He has appeared in numerous other feature films including All The President’s Men, Scarface, Mighty Aphrodite, and Finding Forrester. Recently, he was seen on the small screen in Louie, The Good Wife, Law & Order: CI, and Saving Grace. Abraham has focused on classical theatre throughout his career, most recently portraying Shylock in the critically acclaimed production of The Merchant of Venice for New York’s Theatre for a New Audience. In 2011, the production mounted a national tour, starring Abraham, after the sold-out run in New York and at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works Festival. Murray has also starred in many Shakespearean productions as well as classic plays by Samuel Beckett, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Chekhov. His Broadway credits include Mauritius, Triumph of Love, A Month in the Country, Angels in America: Perestroika, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, and Macbeth.
On selecting Mr. Abraham, Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn said, “Mr. Abraham is the embodiment of what every classical actor strives for: a model representative of the arts who has garnered critical acclaim on stage, film, and television. In addition to his legendary Academy Award–winning performance in Amadeus, he has captivated audiences with magnificent performances in King Lear, Uncle Vanya, Othello, Oedipus Rex, Waiting for Godot, Richard II, and Much Ado About Nothing. His recent turn as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice received critical acclaim and was described as ‘among the great performances of our time’ by The New York Review of Books. I am so pleased he will join our list of distinguished recipients.”
The Gala will begin with a cocktail reception followed by the Gala performance, directed by STC Associate Director Alan Paul, and will close with dinner and dancing in an elegant setting at the National Building Museum. Individual tickets and tables to the Harman Center for the Arts Annual Gala range from $750 to $50,000. For further information about the Annual Gala, call Eric Bailey, special events manager, at 202-547-3230 ext. 2330.
September 24, 2012