A Celebration of Life for Terrence McNally at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Nov. 1; Broadway Theatres to Dim Lights on Nov. 3

Terrence McNally. Photo by Lia Chang

The Broadway community mourns the loss of legendary playwright, five-time Tony Award recipient Terrence McNally, who passed away on March 24, 2020 at age 81. To commemorate his life and work, the Committee of Theatre Owners will dim the lights of Broadway theatres in New York for one minute at exactly 6:30pm on Wednesday, November 3, what would have been his 83rd Birthday.

A Celebration of Life, memorializing the extraordinary life of Terrence McNally, will take place on Monday, November 1 from 4:00-6:00pm at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 W 45th Street). The celebration will include readings, performances, and tributes honoring the immense impact Terrence had on the theatre community. The celebration is free and open to the public, and masks and proof of vaccination will be required. Doors will open at 3:30pm.

Terrence McNally and Tom Kirdahy. Photo by Lia Chang

Tom Kirdahy, Terrence McNally’s husband, said, “The theatre community brought so much joy to Terrence’s life, and our life together. He would be honored and humbled to know that the lights of Broadway will be dimmed in his memory. I am brimming with gratitude and pride.”

“Terrence McNally was one of America’s greatest playwrights and his impact on theatre is so immense that it is hard to measure,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “He was a part of the community and his love for the theatre was evident in everything that he did. He made a difference and we will miss his spirit and his contributions to Broadway and the theatre but we have the memories of all that he contributed.”

Terrence McNally was a legendary American playwright, librettist, and LGBTQ+ trailblazer, described by the New York Times as “the bard of the American Theater.” In a professional career that spanned six decades, Terrence was the recipient of five Tony Awards (two for his plays Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, two for the books to his musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime, and the 2019 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement). He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1996, and he also received the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the highest recognition of artistic merit in the United States. His other accolades include an Emmy Award (for the groundbreaking Andre’s Mother), two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, four Drama Desk Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, two Obie Awards, and three Hull-Warriner Awards. Active in the regional and off-Broadway theatre movements as well as on Broadway, Terrence was one of the few playwrights of his generation to have successfully passed from the avant-garde to mainstream acclaim. His incredible legacy lives on in his plays, musicals, and operas that continue to be performed all over the world as well as in his papers, which are kept and open to the public at the Harry Ransom Center in the University of Texas at Austin. Terrence’s works include: …And Things That Go Bump in the Night, Next, Sweet Eros, ¡Cuba, Si!, Noon (in Morning, Noon, and Night with Leonard Melfi and Isreal Horovitz), Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?, Whiskey, Bad Habits, The Ritz, The Rink (with Kander & Ebb), It’s Only A Play, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, Andre’s Mother, The Lisbon Traviata, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Kiss of the Spider Woman (with Kander & Ebb), A Perfect Ganesh, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class, Ragtime (with Ahrens & Flaherty), Corpus Christi, The Full Monty (with David Yazbek), Dead Man Walking (with Jake Heggie), A Man of No Importance (with Ahrens & Flaherty), The Stendahl Syndrome, Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams, Crucifixion, Some Men, Deuce, Unusual Acts of Devotion, Catch Me if You Can (with Shaiman & Wittman), Golden Age, And Away We Go, Mothers and Sons, The Visit (with Kander & Ebb), Great Scott (with Jake Heggie), Anastasia (with Ahrens & Flaherty), and Immortal Longings (Fire and Air).

Tom Kirdahy and Terrence McNally, winner of the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre at The Plaza Hotel on June 9, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. Click here for Cre8sianproject.com’s latest profile on Lia.

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