Terrence McNally (November 03, 1939 - ..)
Born: 3rd November, 1939
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Playwright
Region: Saint Petersburg, Florida, "Master Class", "Fire and Air"
Notable works: Tony Awards

Terrence McNally Facts


Terrence McNally, (born November 3, 1939, St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.), American dramatist whose plays explore human relationships--frequently those of gay men--and are typically characterized by dark humour. He also wrote books for musicals.

As a young man, McNally worked as a newspaper reporter, as a tutor for the children of the American novelist John Steinbeck, and as a stage manager at The Actors Studio. His early plays included Bad Habits (produced 1971), The Ritz (originally produced as The Tubs, 1973; film 1976), and Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune (produced 1987; film 1991). In 1995 McNally won a Tony Award for best play, for Love! Valour! Compassion! (film 1997), and he won another the following year for Master Class, one of several works he wrote about opera.

McNally's Corpus Christi generated controversy upon its 1998 premiere for its depiction of a Christ-like character as homosexual. Among his later plays were Deuce, which opened on Broadway in 2007, and Golden Age, which followed in 2012. In his play Mothers and Sons (2014), McNally examined a mother coming to terms with her late son's homosexuality and with society's evolving understanding of what constitutes a family. Fire and Air (2018) is about the Ballets Russes and founder Serge Diaghilev's relationship with Vaslav Nijinsky.

McNally's librettos for Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime won him Tony Awards in 1993 and 1998, respectively. Additional credits as a librettist included The Full Monty (produced 2000), Catch Me if You Can (produced 2011), and The Visit (produced 2001). He earned an additional Tony nomination for a 2015 revival of the latter musical. Four years later he received a Tony for lifetime achievement.

Top 9 Terrence McNally quotes

I'm of the school 'Write what you know.' You can educate yourself, but the best writing usually comes from the heart.
I like to surprise myself. I've always been attracted to projects where I don't know how they're going to turn out.
If you're trying to write something that you don't understand and embrace at the very core of you, it's not going to turn out with quite the authenticity and passion it should have.
Young people have got to start their own theaters, really. All good theater is a kind of mom-and-pop operation. Start your own theater.
Young people
With me, writing is 60% imagination, 30% people you know and 10% you don't know where it comes from.
'American Playhouse' is very supportive of writers. That's really why writers like to write for 'American Playhouse' for very little money. They care about making your play, your script, not some network production. We're treated like playwrights, not like fodder for some machine.
Little money
I may think I have inalienable rights to be alive and happy, but I don't - life is a blessing.
Life is a
I've had wonderful collaborators. They're very different, just as actors are. Working on a show with Nathan Lane is different from working on a show with Chita Rivera. It keeps you on your toes because it's different every time.
Every time
Cheating is not the American way. It is small, while we are large. It is cheap, while we are richly endowed. It is destructive, while we are creative. It is doomed to fail, while our gifts and responsibilities call us to achieve. It sabotages trust and weakens the bonds of spirit and humanity, without which we perish.
American way

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