“A lesson I learned in drama school: the teacher asks, how do you be the queen? And everybody says, 'Oh it's about posture and authority.' And the teacher said, no, it's about how the air in the room shifts when you walk in.” – Meryl Streep

Meryl StreepThe air in New York City will shift on April 21, 2014 when theater, film, and television legend Meryl Streep is honored by the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center with the 14th Annual Monte Cristo Award.  One of the most distinguished achievement awards for an actor to receive, the Monte Cristo Award celebrates a theater artist who exemplifies the great playwright Eugene O’Neill’s pioneering spirit, his unceasing artistic commitment to excellence, and accomplishment.   

Meryl Streep in the O'Neill AmphitheaterMs. Streep will accept the 14th Annual Monte Cristo Award at a formal gala held in her honor, complete with cocktails, seated dinner, and plenty of notable entertainment. Past Award recipients include Christopher Plummer, Michael Douglas, Hal Prince, Kevin Spacey, Brian Dennehy, James Earl Jones, and Wendy Wasserstein.  The award this year will be presented by Ms. Streep’s longtime friend, fellow Yale alum, and O’Neill colleague Joe Grifasi.

A graduate of Vassar College and Yale School of Drama, one of Meryl Streep’s first professional jobs after Yale was at the National Playwrights Conference in 1975, during which she acted in five plays over six weeks.  Since then, she has earned a spot as a living legend whose empathy for her characters and the diversity of women she has chosen to portray has distinguished her work in film, television, and theater for nearly three decades.  Since her time at the O’Neill, she has been recognized with the highest awards and achievements in each category, including three Academy Awards (17 nominations), eight Golden Globe Awards (27 nominations), two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, five Grammy Award nominations, and a Tony Award nomination.  She was awarded the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2004 and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Meryl Streep Acting at the O'NeillMore recently, Mrs. Streep was celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2011 for her contribution to American culture through performing arts. In 2013, she will appear in the film adaptation of Tracy Letts' play August: Osage County with Julia Roberts and will star in a film version Stephen Sondheim's fairy tale musical Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall, to be released in December 2014.

Besides acting, she continues to be an active advocate for the environment and for women’s health initiatives worldwide.  The O’Neill is incredibly proud of her achievements on and off the stage and is thrilled to celebrate her countless achievements in April.

More details to come – stay tuned to the O’Neill’s website, our Facebook, and our Twitter as we unveil more details on our biggest Monte Cristo Award yet.

To learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact Special Events Manager, Ainslie Seeber at or call (860) 443-5378 ext. 285 to inquire about availability.

Click here to download a copy of the official press release.