McNally, Terrence

McNally, Terrence, 1939–2020, American playwright, b. St. Petersburg, Fla., grad. Columbia, 1960. Known for his dark humor, social satire, and focus on human isolation and the need to connect, he often wrote about the lives of gay men and those around them in the age of AIDS in his more than 30 plays. The Ritz (1975, film 1976), a farce about mistaken identities, is set in a gay bathhouse, and The Lisbon Traviata (1989), is the story of gay opera lovers. Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1987, film 1991) is about heterosexual romance in middle age. His next play about AIDS was Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991), about two straight couples spending a weekend in a gay community. McNally won Tony Awards for Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994, film 1997), which follows the lives and travails of eight gay men, and Master Class (1995), a study of Maria Callas. His 1997 play Corpus Christi created an uproar for portraying Jesus and his disciples as homosexuals. McNally also wrote the books for 10 musicals, including Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993, based on the Puig novel), Ragtime (1996, adapted from Doctorow's novel), both of which won Tony Awards, and The Full Monty (2000, based on the 1997 British film). He won an Emmy for the television film Andre's Mother (1990), about a mother's reaction to her gay son's death from AIDS. The play Mothers and Sons (2013) is a sequel, set two decades later. He also wrote four opera librettos. e.g., Dead Man Walking (2000).

See studies by T. S. Zinman (1997) and P. Wolfe (2013).

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