Oscar winner Meryl Streep announced Thursday her donation of $1 million to New York’s Public Theater in honor of founder Joseph Papp and writer-director Nora Ephron.
“I give this gift in honor of the founder of The Public Theater, my friend and mentor Joseph Papp, and in remembrance of one of the theater's Board members and greatest supporters, my friend Nora Ephron,” said Streep at a reception Thursday.
“Meryl is as great a citizen as she is an actor,” said the theater's Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Joe Papp founded The Public in the belief that great theater belonged to all the people. It means an enormous amount to us that the greatest actor of our time supports that mission.”
Streep’s relationship with the theater dates back 35 years, with her early credits including Trelawny of the Wells in 1975 and Henry V in 1976. In June, she helped celebrate the theater’s 50th anniversary with a Shakespeare in the Park performance of Romeo and Juliet, where she played the lead opposite Kevin Kline.
The million-dollar announcement came at a reception celebrating the theater’s unveiling of its $40 million revitalization of its downtown home at Astor Place.
The Public Theater is known for its free Shakespeare in the Park performances at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, as well as for staging major premieres in its downtown home, many of which have transferred to Broadway.