The Edwin Forrest Award


Edwin Forrest as King Lear circa 1861. Photo credit: Matthew B. Brady

The Edwin Forrest Award was established in 1990 to recognize the long-term, significant contribution to American theatre by an individual or organization. It was named in honor of actor Edwin Forrest (1802-1872), a native Philadelphian often described as America's first great tragedian. Forrest made his stage debut in 1820 in the Walnut Street Theatre production of John Hume's tragedy, Douglas.

Forrest encouraged the development of a truly American theatre that would reflect the tenets of the new republic. He commissioned playwrights to create new works in which he and other American actors could perform. As a final testament to his commitment to the theatre, he endowed his home to be used by indigent actors.

Past Award Recipients
1990 Frank C. McGinn (theatre historian)
1991 Celeste Holm (actress)
1992 F. Otto Haas (arts patron)
1993 Frederick W. Anton III (arts patron)
1994 Terrence Larsen, CoreStates Financial Corp. (arts patron)
Patricia Neal (actress)
1995 Raymond W. Smith, Bell Atlantic (arts patron)
Richard Kiley (actor)
1996 David Girard- DiCarlo, Blank Rome LLP (arts patron)
E.G. Marshall (actor)
1997 Mayor Edward G. Rendell (arts patron)
Laurie Beechman (actress and recording star)
1998 Ira L. Kamens, PLAYBILL Publisher Mid-Atlantic Region (arts patron)
Ken Ludwig (playwright)
1999 Marvin Comisky, Blank Rome LLP (arts patron)
Kim Hunter (actress)
2000 Paul S. Beideman, Mellon Bank (arts patron)
Alfred Uhry (playwright)
2001 Kenneth G. Lawrence, PECO Energy Company (arts patron)
Joseph Stein (playwright)
2002 Pennsylvania House Majority Leader John Perzel (arts patron)
Danny Newman (legendary arts marketer)
2003 Senator and Mrs. Arlen Specter (arts patron)
Sheldon Harnick (lyricist)
2004 Governor Mark Schweiker (arts patron)
Sherman Frank (musical director)
2005 Louis W. Fryman, Esq., Fox Rothschild LLP (arts patron)
Patrick Quinn (actor)
2006 Matt Garfield (arts patron)
Malcolm Black (director)
2007 Ed Satell (arts patron)
Tony Macauley (composer/lyricist)
2008 Jack Graham (arts patron)
Robert Prosky (actor)
2009 Ann Marie Richter (Arts Patron)
John P. Connolly (Executive Director, Actors' Equity Association)
Mark Zimmerman (President, Actors' Equity Association)
2010 Chuck Abbott (director)
Dan Fitzpatrick, Citizens Bank (arts patron)
2011 Diane Dalto Woosnam (arts advocate)
Dennis Bianchi, NBC-10 (media partner)
2012 Hugh Panaro (actor)
Martin W. Spector (arts patron)
2013 Albert A. Giagnacova (arts patron)