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Christopher Durango - Playwright-in-Residence

Christopher Durang

Christopher Durang won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play for his Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.  This play also won Best Play from the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama League Award, and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award.

Durang has a B.A. from Harvard College, and an M.F.A. in playwriting from Yale School of Drama, where he worked with some wonderfully talented fellow students like Sigourney Weaver, Albert Innaurato, Meryl Streep and Wendy Wasserstein.  His  plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical, 1978), The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie award; off-Bway run 1981-83), Beyond Therapy (on Broadway in 1982, with Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow), Baby with the Bathwater (Playwrights Horizons, 1983), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Public Theatre, 1985; Obie award, Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award), Laughing Wild (Playwrights Horizons, 1987), Durang/Durang (an evening of six plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, 1994, including the Tennessee Williams’ parody, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls), Sex and Longing (Lincoln Center Theatre production at the Cort Theatre, 1996, starring Sigourney Weaver and Dana Ivey), Betty’s Summer Vacation (Playwrights Horizons, 1999, Obie award), Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge (City Theatre in Pittsburgh in 2002) starring Kristine Nielsen, Adrift in Macao, a musical written with composer Peter Melncick, at Philadelphia Stage Company in 2005 and at Primary Stages in 2006; Miss Witherspoon (2005), which had a double premiere at McCarter Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, featured Ms. Nielsen again, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Loved Them (Public Theater, 2009), starring Laura Benanti and Ms Nielsen (again!).  

He’s written and performed in cabaret: at Yale he and Wendy Wasserstein co-authored When Dinah Shore Ruled the Earth; Sigourney Weaver and he wrote and performed in their loony Brecht-Weill parody, Das Lusitania Songspiel (1980), and were both nominated for Best Performers in a Musical; and he performed his crackpot act Chris Durang and Dawne (with John Augustine and Sherry Anderson as his back-up group “Dawne”) multiple times from 1988 until 1996 when all three won a cabaret Bistro Award.  He’s acted in some of his plays, he’s played ministers and priests and YMCA clerks in movies.  He’s won various grants and honors including a Rockefeller, a Guggenheim, a Lila Wallace Playwriting award, the Sidney Kingsley playwriting award, the Harvard Arts Medal, and the 2008 William Inge Distinguished Achievement Award.  Since 1994 he and Marsha Norman have been co-chairs of the Playwriting Program at the Juilliard School.  He is a member of the Dramatists Guild’s council.  He lives in Pennsylvania.