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Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater has named theater, television and film artist Charles Randolph-Wright the recipient of its 2022 “American Artist” award. Molly Smith, Arena Stage Artistic Director, presented the award to Randolph-Wright on Thursday, March 17, 2022, as part of the opening night celebration for Catch Me If You Can, now playing at the Mead Center for American Theater. Also directed by Smith, Catch Me If You Can runs through April 17, 2022 in the Fichandler Stage.

“Charles Randolph-Wright is one of my favorite artists, hands down.” says Smith. “We met when I was wowed by his production of Insurrection at A.C.T. in San Francisco way back in 1998. We immediately connected on a personal and professional level. We trust each other and that’s a rarity in this crazy business. For Arena he has been a playwright and director, and he has directed and produced on Broadway and on television, nationally and internationally. Plus, he’s a terrific filmmaker.”

The American Artist Award recognizes artists of the highest caliber, honoring their incredible work and significant contributions to American theater. Past awardees include Baayork Lee, Eve Ensler, Hal Linden, Moisés Kaufman, Sheldon Harnick, Kathleen Turner, Leslie Uggams, Edward Albee, James Earl Jones, Robert “Bob” Alexander, August Wilson and Arena Stage co-founder Zelda Fichandler.

“Arena Stage has been my artistic home for over 20 years,” said Randolph-Wright, as he accepted the award. “I am proud to be part of a theatre that has been diverse and inclusive since its inception. This award always will remind me of the ultimate love and support I have received through my glorious time here, a place that has emboldened me to try any and everything. I will cherish this honor as much as I cherish this theatre and its extraordinary artistic director, my dear friend Molly Smith, a brilliant force of nature who is a supernova in the arts.”

Charles Randolph-Wright’s directing credits include Trouble in Mind (Broadway, starring LaChanze), Motown the Musical (Broadway, London and the National Tour), Porgy and Bess (75th anniversary tour), Guys and Dolls (50th anniversary tour), and the Broadway bound musical, Born for This, co-written with BeBe Winans. He also directed and co-wrote The Diva is Dismissed (starring Jenifer Lewis), Just Between Friends (Bea Arthur on Broadway) and wrote Blue (starring Phylicia Rashad).

His television directing credits include GreenleafDelilah, The Big Leap, Katy KeeneStep Up: Highwater, and Lincoln Heights. He directed the film Preaching to the Choir and is an Executive Producer of the documentary Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back. Randolph-Wright is currently working on what will be his 12th production at Arena, co-writing and directing a groundbreaking musical, American Prophet: Frederick Douglass in His Own Words. This world premiere will run July 15 – August 28, 2022 in the Kreeger Theater.

“The American Artist Award celebrates an artist’s contribution and promise for American theater, and Charles excels at all of it,” explains Smith. “When Charles brings a project to Arena, I know we have high potential for a remarkable production. He is a true showman and a classic man of the theater.”

For more information on the American Artist Award, please visit arenastage.org/american-artist-award.

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