James Earl Jones will receive the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Monte Cristo Award in a Gotham ceremony in May.
Annual kudo — which has gone in the past to August Wilson, Kevin Spacey, Wendy Wasserstein and Harold Prince, among others — honors a well-known legiter for a distinguished and pioneering career.
Jones (“Fences,” “The Great White Hope”), who has won two Tonys, is currently on Broadway in the revival of “Driving Miss Daisy” and has already lined up a stint in the spring 2012 revival of “The Best Man.”
The committee for this year’s Monte Cristo includes Alec Baldwin, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Leslie Uggams, Vanessa Redgrave and Anika Noni Rose.
Based in Waterford, Conn., the O’Neill Theater Center runs an annual series of legit development programs including the National Playwrights Conference and the National Music Theater Conference. Award is named after the Monte Cristo Cottage, which was playwright Eugene O’Neill’s boyhood summer home.
The 2011 Monte Cristo ceremony is set for May 9 at the South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan.