As nauseatingly elite as the MacArthur "Genius" grants are, I still am glad to see one bestowed on the inestimable stage director, David Cromer. Other theatre artists have been awarded in the past (Mary Zimmerman and Anna Deavere Smith come to mind), but to recognize Cromer--a director whose only outing on Broadway was such a commercial failure it closed before opening night--happily indicates that at least someone at the foundation is paying attention to the wider theatrical world.
(Yes, yes, the next step would be to give the award to a theatre artist never in NYC at all!)
The citation certainly gets this right about Cromer:
David Cromer is a theater director and actor who is reinvigorating classic American plays and illuminating their relationship to the present....[e]schewing nostalgia and period kitsch.It goes onto discuss his Our Town production in detail, indicating that this would never have happened without the phenomenal success of that show, proving how important long runs are for non-Broadway shows to get noticed by the cognoscenti.
Here's the awardee himself:
What does $100K a year for 5 years mean to him? What it would mean to any artist, of course: "It
provides a freedom from worry about having to do something that was absolutely going to generate enough money to live." Then again he did still take that directing-Nicole-Kidman-on-B'way gig.