Award-Winning Playwright Terrence McNally Dead at 81
McNally died as a result of complications from the coronavirus
Terrence McNally, the playwright whose work includes the likes of Love! Valour! Compassion! and Frankie and Jonny in the Clair de Lune, died earlier today in a Florida hospital. McNally’s death came as a result of complications from the coronavirus. Writing at The Washington Post, Nelson Pressley summarized the arc of McNally’s long and storied career:
His modes ranged from anxious farces and social critiques in the 1960s and 1970s, when the gay-bathhouse romp “The Ritz” (1975) was his biggest hit, to the warmhearted “Love! Valour! Compassion!” (1994), which illustrated the lives of eight gay men vacationing at a lake house.
In his review of the 1995 production of Love! Valour! Compassion!, Vincent Canby at The New York Times called the play “a theatrical experience of unusual richness, about characters of unexpected dimension.” McNally was frequently acclaimed for both his portrayals of gay life and for the memorable characters he created in his work.
We lost a great artist today. I worked for and with Terrence McNally twice in my life and they were two of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had. His work was vital, intense, hysterical and rare. My hope is that he will inspire writers for years to come. #RIPTerrenceMcNally
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) March 24, 2020
A huge loss. I was fortunate enough to grow up in NYC and could see myself in his plays long before the rest of Hollywood caught up. Wildly prolific and wonderful. Thank you Terrence McNally. ❤️🌈 https://t.co/PGeABycdhX
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) March 24, 2020
McNally received a Lifetime Achievement award at the 2019 Tony Awards; a documentary about his work, Every Act of Life, was released in 2018. Last year also saw a high-profile Broadway revival of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, starring Michael Shannon and Audra McDonald.
Heartbroken over the loss of Terrence McNally, a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly. Grateful for his staggering body of work and his unfailing kindness.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 24, 2020
Please read this beautiful thread about Terrence McNally. https://t.co/okUe0aT47Y
— Bebe Neuwirth (@BebeNeuwirth) March 24, 2020
McNally will be remembered for his work, his activism and his generosity. And the plays, the scenarios and the characters that he created will endure on stages around the world for years to come.
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