The groundbreaking life and work of 4-time Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally: a personal journey through 5-decades of the American theatre, the struggle for LGBT rights, triumph over addiction, the power of the arts to shape society, and finding love and inspiration at all ages.
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Featuring interviews and performances with: F. Murray Abraham, Lynn Ahrens, Jon Robin Baitz, Christine Baranski, Zoe Caldwell, Dominic Cuskern, Tyne Daly, Edie Falco, Stephen Flaherty, John Glover, Anthony Heald, John Benjamin Hickey, Sheryl Kaller, John Kander, Roberta Kaplan, Tom Kirdahy, Larry Kramer, Nathan Lane, Angela Lansbury, Paul Libin, Joe Mantello, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Terrence McNally, Peter McNally, Lynne Meadow, Rita Moreno, Jack O’Brien, Billy Porter, Chita Rivera, Doris Roberts, Don Roos, John Slattery, Micah Stock, Richard Thomas, John Tillinger, Stanley Tucci, and Patrick Wilson, plus the voices of Dan Bucatinsky, Bryan Cranston and Meryl Streep
"We gotta connect. We just have to. Or we die."
- Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
At 78, Terrence is one of the world’s most renowned, risk-taking playwrights, but he wakes up every day with the spirit of an ambitious and romantic young man. It’s that attitude, mixed with a quiet courage, that empowered him in the early 1960s to be the first proudly open major American gay playwright.
The son of an alcoholic beer distributor in southern Texas, Terrence traveled the world as tutor to John Steinbeck's children (Steinbeck’s only advice was, "Don't write for the theater, it will break your heart”); suffered an infamous Broadway flop in 1965 at age 24; and went on to write dozens of groundbreaking plays and musicals about sexuality, homophobia, faith, the power of art, and finding meaning in every moment of life. He won four Tony Awards; had long relationships with Edward Albee and Wendy Wasserstein; lost a lover and many friends to AIDS; stopped drinking through the intervention of Angela Lansbury; helped launch the careers of Nathan Lane, F. Murray Abraham, Audra McDonald, Doris Roberts, Patrick Wilson, and Joe Mantello; was an early champion of marriage equality and faced violent protests for his play Corpus Christi; survived a brutal fight with lung cancer; and finally found lasting love with his now-husband, producer Tom Kirdahy.
Terrence’s plays, books for musicals, opera librettos, and screenplays include: And Things That Go Bump in the Night (1964), Next (1969), Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone? (1971), Bad Habits (1974), The Ritz (1975), The Rink (1984), Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1987), It's Only a Play (1986 and 2014), Andre's Mother (1988), The Lisbon Traviata (1989), Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991), Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993), A Perfect Ganesh (1993), Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995), Master Class (1996), Ragtime (1998), Corpus Christi (1998), Dead Man Walking (2000), The Full Monty (2000), Unusual Acts of Devotion (2008), The Visit (2001 / 2015), And Away We Go (2012), Mothers and Sons (2014), and Anastasia (2017). He is currently working on three new plays.
“Theater is collaborative, but life is collaborative. We need more of that spirit more than ever in the days ahead. We need what connects us, what makes us human beings. We need to bring the barriers down, not build walls, but tear them down. The stakes are really high now, higher than ever. And I think that’s the message of art.”
- Terrence McNally
“Terrence writes plays that are out and proud and cutting edge, but he also writes plays like Frankie and Johnny and Ragtime that have nothing to do with being gay, but everything to do with not being accepted. In the end, they’re all about love.
- director Sheryl Kaller
Here's an early look at some of the people and stories in EVERY ACT OF LIFE
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, WRITER
Marcia S. Ross
Suzi Dietz, Tom Kirdahy, Mark Lee, Ted Snowdon & Duffy Violante, Buddy Steves & Rowena Young
Laura Karpman and Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum
Jordan Black, Autumn Eakin, Anthony Lucido
Jeff produced, directed, and wrote the documentaries The State of Marriage, Father Joseph, The Savoy King: Chick Webb and the Music That Changed America, Brush With Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman, and Education Under Fire, plus programs for The Discovery Channel and The History Channel. He also contributed cartoons to The New Yorker, and illustrations to The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, wrote / illustrated several children's books, and hosted radio talk shows in Vermont and Los Angeles.
Marcia produced The State Of Marriage and Father Joseph. As a casting director and executive, she has worked on hundreds of feature films, TV series, pilots, and movies for television. She also served for 16 years as EVP of Casting for Walt Disney Motion Pictures, and 5 years as VP for Casting and Talent Development at Warner Brothers Television. Her credits include Clueless, thirtysomething, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Princess Diaries, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, The Muppets, Parental Guidance, and Oblivion.