091708kushner.jpgPlaywright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) has been named the first recipient of the "Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award," which is to be awarded biennially to an American playwright whose body of work has made significant contributions to the American theater. The prize comes with a cool $200,000, which Kushner says will "buy me time to work on plays," after he finishes up a screenplay about Abraham Lincoln for Steven Spielberg and another film script about Eugene O'Neill. The Distinguished Playwright Award will be given out in alternate years with another award of $50,000 for early-career playwrights "whose professional work shows great promise." In accepting the prize, Kushner noted that "playwriting is in a lot of trouble now,” because even successful writers have to split their time with Hollywood to support their lifestyles.