Actress to receive Distinction in Theater prize

Helen Mirren will receive the 2007 Distinction in Theater Award from the Geffen Playhouse.

John Lithgow will present Mirren with the award at the fifth annual Backstage at the Geffen Gala, where outgoing board of directors chairman Herb Gelfand will also be honored.

“We created the Distinction in Theater Award to honor those whose substantial work onstage and off has contributed greatly to the lifeblood of theater, locally and around the world,” said Geffen producing director Gil Cates, who will emcee the evening. “Helen is the epitome of theater dedication, cutting her teeth onstage following high school and becoming a veteran at the Old Vic by age 20.”

Past recipients of the award include actor Karl Malden and HBO prexy Colin Callender.

April 30 event, billed as a “behind-the-scenes” peek at the performing arts through play readings, intimate storytelling and song, will benefit the Geffen’s education and outreach programs.

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