EXCLUSIVE: The famed safe-house for developing theater writers will honor multiple Tony Award nominee (and winner for Kiss Me, Kate) and Actors Fund board chair Brian Stokes Mitchell with its 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award, to be presented at New Dramatists’ 66th Annual Spring Luncheon on May 14 in New York. The event chairs are producers Roger Berlind and Bob Boyett, and Shubert Organization chairman Philip J. Smith.

“Working in a community of playwrights, one becomes aware that the life of artists and the making of art is anything but effortless,” says New Dramatists a.d. Emily Morse, “and yet, any performance given by Brian Stokes Mitchell appears effortless. With his deep, resonant voice, and commanding stage presence, he not only sings a song, he makes it soar. Additionally, through his work at The Actors Fund, Mr. Mitchell is dedicated to serving fellow artists.”

Past luncheon honorees have included Susan Stroman, Seth Gelblum, Bernadette Peters, Roger Berlind, Julie Taymor, Horton Foote, Edward Albee, Harvey Fierstein, Chita Rivera, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Julie Andrews, Glenn Close, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Jerry Herman, Terrence McNally, Barbara Cook, John Kander & Fred Ebb, August Wilson, and Gwen Verdon.

New Dramatists was founded in 1949 by Michaela O’Harra in association with Howard Lindsay, Richard Rodgers, Russel Crouse, Oscar Hammerstein II, John Golden, Moss Hart, Maxwell Anderson, John Wharton, Robert E. Sherwood and Elmer Rice. In 2001 the group was awarded a Tony Honor For Excellence in Theater.