“Theater changes hearts” – Playwright Terrence McNally (November 3, 1938 – March 24, 2020),

Playwright Terrence McNally, 81, has died,  reportedly from complications from the coronavirus.
His prolific career included winning Tony Awards for the plays “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Master Class” and the musicals “Ragtime” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,”
His full oeuvre (see list below): 36 plays, books for 10 musicals, the librettos for four operas and several screenplays for film and television. His screenwriting was mostly adaptations of his theater, his true love.

“Theater changes hearts, that secret place where we all truly live. The world needs artists more than ever to remind us what truth and beauty and kindness really are,” he said last year when receiving the Tony Award for lifetime achievement. The full speech below.

Last year, Terrence McNally was also made an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts at New York University’s Commencement. NYU Prof (and playwright) Kristoffer Diaz read the citation:” Terrence McNally, one of theatre’s greatest contemporary playwrights, you have created over the past half-century an eclectic and prolific body of work—literally scores of plays, musicals, opera libretti, and scripts for film and television. Your razor wit and complexities of character largely explain how you created theatre that functions as family, launched the careers of great actors, and helped audiences cope with the AIDS crisis that engulfed them. You placed your unique stamp on American drama by probing the urgent need for connection that resonates at the core of human experience. From an expansive mind and generous spirit, you have created masterful and enduring art and in the process have celebrated and uplifted humankind.”


Terrence McNally’s plays

And Things That Go Bump in the Night (1964)
Botticelli (1968)
Sweet Eros (1968)
Witness (1968)
¡Cuba Si! (1968)
Bringing It All Back Home (1969)
Noon (1968), second segment of Morning, Noon and Night
Next (1969)
Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone? (1971)
Bad Habits (1974)
Whiskey (1973)
The Tubs (1974), early version of The Ritz
The Ritz (1975)
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1982)
It’s Only a Play (1986)
Hope (1988), second segment of Faith, Hope and Charity
The Lisbon Traviata (1989)
Prelude and Liebestod (1989)
Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991)
A Perfect Ganesh (1993)
Hidden Agendas (1994)
Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994)
By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea (1995)
Master Class (1995)
Corpus Christi (1998)
The Stendhal Syndrome (2004)
Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams (2005)
Some Men (2006)
The Sunday Times (2006)
Deuce (2007)
Unusual Acts of Devotion (2008)
Golden Age (2009)
And Away We Go (2013)
Mothers and Sons (2014)
It’s Only a Play (2014)
Fire and Air (2018)

Musical Theater:

Here’s Where I Belong (1968)
The Rink (1984)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1992)
Ragtime (1996)
The Full Monty (2000)
The Visit (2001)
A Man of No Importance (2002)
Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life (2005)
Catch Me If You Can (2011)
Anastasia (2016)


The Food of Love (1999), music by Robert Beaser
Dead Man Walking (2000), music by Jake Heggie
Three Decembers (2008), music by Jake Heggie
Great Scott (2015), music by Jake Heggie

The Ritz (1976)
Andre’s Mother (1988)
Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Love! Valour! Compassion! (1997)

Andre’s Mother (1990)
The Last Mile (1992)
Common Ground (2000)
Mama Malone (1984)

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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