Terrence McNally

Screenwriter, Playwright, Producer
A stalwart of the New York stage since the mid-1960s, Terrence McNally has gained distinction on and off Broadway as a playwright and, to a much lesser extent, as a screenwriter. Notably prolific and eclectic, he built ... Read more »
Born: 11/03/1939 in St Petersburg, Florida, USA

Filmography

Writer (11)

Common Ground 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Screenplay

Love! Valour! Compassion! 1997 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Love! Valour! Compassion! 1997 (Movie)

("Love! Valour! Compassion!") (Play as Source Material)

Great Performances' 20th Anniversary Special 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Writer

Frankie and Johnny 1991 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Frankie and Johnny 1991 (Movie)

("Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune") (Play as Source Material)

Andre's Mother 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Writer

Liza Minnelli in Sam Found Out: A Triple Play 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Writer

The Ritz 1976 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Ritz 1976 (Movie)

("The Ritz") (Play as Source Material)

A Good Life (TV Show)

Writer
Actor (9)

The State of Marriage 2015 (Movie)

(Himself)

The First Ten Awards: Tony 2001 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Mr. & Mrs. Broadway 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

John Steinbeck: An American Writer 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The 53rd Annual Tony Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Presenter

Broadway 98: Launching the Tony Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Interviewee

Creating Ragtime 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Live Broadway USA 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (1)

Mama Malone 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Producer

Biography

A stalwart of the New York stage since the mid-1960s, Terrence McNally has gained distinction on and off Broadway as a playwright and, to a much lesser extent, as a screenwriter. Notably prolific and eclectic, he built his considerable reputation by deftly penning a remarkable series of comedies ranging from a satirical take on psychiatry ("Bad Habits") to a broad physical farce ("The Ritz") to a drawing-room comedy ("It's Only A Play"). These early comedies were arguably more memorable for their intelligence and wit than for the depth of their characterization, prompting critic Harold Clurman to dub their author one of "the most adept practitioners of the comedy of insult."

Relationships

Gary

Companion
alluded to by McNally in an interview in Theaterweek, February 27-March 5, 1995

Edward Albee Actor

Companion
together in the 1960s no longer together

Julie Brown Actor

Wife

Hubert McNally

Father
former New Yorker Edith Piaf enthusiast

Dorothy McNally

Mother
former New Yorker

EDUCATION

Columbia University

New York , New York 1960
won the Harry Evans Traveling Fellowship in creative writing from the English department

Milestones

2000

Penned the libretto for the stage musical "The Full Monty"; received a Tony nomination

1998

New play "Corpus Christi" was subject of controversy; Manhattan Theatre Club announced intention to produce but backed down when it received threats after the plot, which involves a modern-day Jesus figure, was revealed; after other writers planned to boy

1997

Adapted his Tony Award-winning play "Love! Valour! Compassion!" as a feature film directed by Joe Mantello; premiered at 1997 Sundance Film Festival

1996

Wrote book for "Ragtime, The Musical"; premiered in Toronto in December; opened on Broadway in January 1998

1995

Contributed one of three short plays to "By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea"; premiered at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor; other one-acts were by Lanford Wilson and Joe Pintauro

1995

Film version of "Love! Valour! Compassion!" delayed when Nathan Lane left the project

1995

"Love! Valor! Compassion!" opened on Broadway and received the Tony Award

1995

"Master Class" opened on Broadway starring Zoe Caldwell; wrote part of opera diva Maria Callas for her; dedicated play to Elaine Steinbeck

1994

Premiered the successful comedy-drama "Love! Valor! Compassion!" at the Manhattan Theater Club; another successful collaboration with Lane

1994

Devoted much of the year to co-teaching playwriting with John Guare at Juilliard

1993

First collaboration with actress Zoe Caldwell, "A Perfect Ganesh"; produced Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Company

1993

Contributed one of nine one-act plays, "The Wibbly, Wobbly, Wiggly Dance That Cleopatterer Did", to "Naked at the Coast", the West Coast debut of the NYC theater company Naked Angels

1992

Wrote book for the Kander-Ebb revised musical version of Manuel Puig's novel "Kiss of the Spider Woman"; premiered in London before moving to Broadway

1992

Wrote "The Last Mile", a segment of PBS' "Great Performances' 20th Anniversary Special", starring Bernadette Peters as a soprano making her debut at the Met

1991

Had an Off-Broadway hit with "Lips Together, Teeth Apart"; another collaboration with Lane and Baranski

1991

Wrote the screenplay adaptation of his stage play "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" as "Frankie and Johnny"; the Garry Marshall-directed film starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino

1990

Won an Emmy for writing "Andre's Mother", an hour-long drama for PBS' "American Playhouse", dealing with the emotional aftermath of AIDS; starred Sada Thompson and Richard Thomas

1989

First collaboration with actor Nathan Lane, the Off-Broadway stage production of "The Lisbon Traviata"

1989

Wrote "A Good Life", a half hour episode of "Trying Times", a PBS comedy-anthology series

1988

Had Off-Broadway hit with the romantic comedy-drama "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune"; role of Frankie written for actress Kathy Bates

1988

With Wendy Wasserstein, co-wrote the comedy segment of the ABC special "Liza Minnelli in Sam Found Out: A Triple Play"

1985

Rewrote the failed "Broadway, Broadway" as "It's Only a Play"; produced at the Manhattan Theater Club; first collaboration with Christine Baranski

1984

TV series debut, produced the short-lived CBS sitcom, "Mama Malone"; also wrote for series

1984

Provided the book for the John Kander-Fred Ebb musical "The Rink" starring Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera; first collaboration with Kander and Ebb

1979

Appeared regularly as a panelist on "Texaco Opera Quiz", a syndicated radio show

1979

First work performed on PBS' "Great Performances", his adaptation of "The Five Forty-Eight", a John Cheever story

1979

Had "The Lisbon Traviata" produced as a radio play

1978

"Broadway, Broadway", his comedy about a disastrous opening night, closed after a terrible Philadelphia tryout

1976

Feature screenwriting debut, an adaptation of stage farce, "The Ritz"; directed for the screen by Richard Lester

1975

Had a Broadway hit with "The Ritz", a broad farce about intrigue in a gay bathhouse

1970

"Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?", one of his favorites of his plays, premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre with Henry Winkler and James Naughton before opening Off-Broadway

1968

Had first Off-Broadway hit with "Next", a comedy starring James Coco

1968

Removed name from the book of the stage musical "Here's Where I Belong", based on "East of Eden"; show closed after one performance

1968

Had three plays--"Sweet Eros/Witness", "Tour", and "Cuba Si"--produced off-Broadway; had "Noon", his segment of a program of three one-act plays collectively entitled "Morning, Noon and Night" produced on Broadway

1966

Had first teleplay produced, "Apple Pie and Last Gasps"

1965

At age 26, had "And Things That Go Bump in the Night" produced on Broadway; play flopped critically and commercially

1963

Returned to NYC; settled in Greenwich Village (date approximate)

1963

Broadway debut, "The Lady of the Camellias," his adaptation of the Alexander Dumas novel; was "devised, designed and directed" by Franco Zeffirelli

1961

At Molly Kazan's encouragement, interned as a stage manager at Actors Studio (date approximate)

1961

Referred by Mrs Kazan to spend a year traveling around the world as the tutor of author John Steinbeck's two sons

1960

First writing for the theater, the book for the Columbia Varsity Show of 1960

1956

Moved to NYC at age 17 to attend Columbia University

1955

Around age 15, first heard opera star Maria Callas on radio broadcasts in Texas

1952

Around age 12, visited NYC with parents and saw Gertrude Lawrence in "The King and I" about three nights before she left the show and several weeks before her death

1946

At age six, taken by family to NYC where they saw Broadway production of "Annie Get Your Gun" starring Ethel Merman

Work began to shift from relatively broad joke-oriented comedy to more character-driven, dark-tinged comedy

Traveled to Mexico for six months with prize money from English department fellowship from Columbia University

Raised in Corpus Christi, TX

Sent play to Elia Kazan's wife, Molly, who ran the Actors Studio's Playwrights and Directors Unit in New York

Had first original full-length play, "And Things That Go Bump in the Night", produced in Minneapolis

During summer vacations from college, worked as journalist for his hometown paper The Caller-Times

Traveling in England as a Columbia student, first saw actress Zoe Caldwell at Stratford-on-Avon; swore that he would write a play for her one day

Returned to NYC; wrote This Side of the Door, a long one-act, one-character play

Bonus Trivia

.

As of the end of 1996, McNally had received two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, a Lucille Lortel Award, and a citation from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

SIMILAR ARTICLES