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Gay Theater Director Wins Genius Grant

Gay Theater Director Wins Genius Grant

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Obie award-winning theater director and actor David Cromer has been selected as one of this year's 23 MacArthur Fellows.

Cromer, whose directorial credits include celebrated revivals of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire and Thornton Wilder's Our Town, will receive $500,000 in obligation-free financial support over the next five years.

In a release on its official website announcing the award recipients for 2010, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation points to Cromer's "incisive interpretations of the twentieth-century repertoire [that] honor the original intention of each work while providing audiences with more psychologically complex performances than previous renderings" as well as his talent for "reinvigorating classic American plays and illuminating their relationship to the present."

Cromer, 45, is an Illinois native and two-time dropout -- first from high school and then from Chicago's Columbia College. In an interview earlier this year with The New York Times Magazine,Cromer lamented his poor fashion sense, lack of physical fitness, inability to cook, and downscale apartment, saying these factors make him "a terrible homosexual."

His dropout status and perceived lifestyle shortcomings didn't factor into the MacArthur Foundation's decision, however, as Cromer joins fewer than 1,000 others who have been designated "geniuses" since the grant's inception in 1981.

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