Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (born 1973) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and comic book writer best known for his work for Marvel Comics and for the television series Glee, Big Love and Riverdale. He is Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa was born in Washington, D.C., the son of a Nicaraguan diplomat, and raised in both the United States and Nicaragua. He attended Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, MD followed by Georgetown University where he studied playwriting under Donn B. Murphy. Later he received a Masters Degree in English literature from McGill University, and graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 2003.
Although he wrote some plays in high school, it was after college, while working as a publicist at the Shakespeare Theatre, that he had an opportunity to attend a week-long playwriting workshop under Paula Vogel during her 1998-99 residency at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Vogel had invited area theaters to send their "resident playwrights" and company director Michael Kahn sent Aguirre-Sacasa. She told him to "get serious" about writing plays and so he started applying to graduate programs in playwriting.
Early plays during his first year at Yale include Say You Love Satan, "a romantic comedy spoof of the Omen movies", and The Muckle Man, "a serious family drama with supernatural overtones"; good reviews on summer productions of those helped him get a professional agent. Rough Magic, an interpretation of Shakespeare's The Tempest where Caliban escapes from Prospero's island and finds himself in present-day New York City, was produced at Yale during his last year there.
On April 4, 2003, Dad's Garage Theatre Company in Atlanta was scheduled to debut Aguirre-Sacasa's new play, Archie's Weird Fantasy, which depicted Riverdale's most famous resident coming out of the closet and moving to New York. The day before the play was scheduled to open, Archie Comics issued a cease and desist order, threatening litigation if the play proceeded as written. Dad's Garage artistic director Sean Daniels said, "The play was to depict Archie and his pals from Riverdale growing up, coming out and facing censorship. Archie Comics thought if Archie was portrayed as being gay, that would dilute and tarnish his image." It opened a few days later as "Weird Comic Book Fantasy" with the character names changed.
Other plays produced in 2003 were The Mystery Plays in New York, which had won a writing award the previous year from the Kennedy Center, and a hit production of Say You Love Satan at the 2003 New York International Fringe Festival.
Playwriting continued along with comic-book writing, with several productions of new and old works. In 2006, his semi-autobiographical Based On A Totally True Story (about a comic-book writer/playwright struggling with new-found success and boyfriend problems) was staged at the prestigious Manhattan Theatre Club in New York. When asked by The Advocate, "Which came first, being a comic-book geek or being gay?" he answered, "I would say I was probably a comic-book geek before I knew anything about being gay or straight. I certainly loved superheroes before I knew I was gay..." He also noted the play was, "thankfully", not about his current boyfriend.
Good Boys and True, about a graphic sex tape that begins circulating around an all-boys prep school outside Washington, D.C., premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in winter 2008.
In mid-2009, the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, premiered his play The Picture of Dorian Gray, based on the novel by Oscar Wilde. That same year, Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Tonci Zonjic finished Marvel Comics' Marvel Divas miniseries, and he began working as a writer for the HBO series Big Love, a position he continued in 2010 during the show's fourth season. In February 2010, he was announced to write the book for the musical adaption of the novel American Psycho.
South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California, presented the premiere of his play Doctor Cerberus in spring 2010. He also revised Robert Benton's musical It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman for the Dallas Theater Center production in Dallas, Texas, in June 2010.
In 2011, Aguirre-Sacasa was approached by the producers of the troubled Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark to help rewrite its script.
In May 2011, Aguirre-Sacasa was hired as a co-producer and writer of Glee. Two months laters, he was hired to write the comic book Archie meets Glee, scheduled to be published in 2013.
London's Almeida Theatre said in April 2013 that Aguirre-Sacasa is writing the script for a musical based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho, to run December 3, 2013, to January 25, 2014.
Aguirre-Sacasa grew up liking comic books, recalling in 2003, "My mom would take us out to the 7-Eleven on River Road during the summer, and we would get Slurpees and buy comics off the spinning rack. I would read them all over and over again, and draw my own pictures and stuff." He began writing for Marvel Comics, he explained, when "Marvel hired an editor to find new writers, and they hired her from a theatrical agency. So she started calling theaters and asking if they knew any playwrights who might be good for comic books. A couple of different theaters said she should look at me. So she called me, I sent her a couple of my plays and she said "Great, would you like to pitch on a couple of comic books in the works?"
His first submissions were "not what [they were] interested in for the character[s]" but eventually he was signed for the Fantastic Four, with the first issues published early in 2004. The 11-page Fantastic Four story "The True Meaning of..." was in the Marvel Holiday Special 2004. He went on to write Fantastic Four stories in Marvel Knights 4, a spinoff of that superhero team's long-running title; and stories for Nightcrawler vol. 3; The Sensational Spider-Man vol. 2; and Dead of Night featuring Man-Thing.
In May 2008 Aguirre-Sacasa returned to the Fantastic Four with a miniseries tie-in to the company-wide "Secret Invasion" storyline concerning a years-long infiltration of Earth by the shape-shifting alien race, the Skrulls and an Angel Revelations miniseries with artists Barry Kitson and Adam Polina, respectively. He adapted for comics the Stephen King novel The Stand.
In 2013, he created Afterlife with Archie, depicting Archie Andrews in the midst of a zombie apocalypse; the book's success led to Aguirre-Sacasa being named Archie Comics' chief creative officer.
Film and television
Aguirre-Sacasa wrote the screen adaptation of the remake of Stephen King's Carrie, released in October 2013. In June 2013 was scheduled to write Warner Bros.' planned live-action Archie movie. He also wrote The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014 film) the sequel of the cult-classic horror film The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
Aguirre-Sacasa wrote for television episodes of Glee, Big Love and Looking. He is the series developer of Riverdale.
In 2002, The Mystery Plays received the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. He received GLAAD Media Award nominations for Golden Age and for Say You Love Satan, with the latter also winning a New York International Fringe Festival Excellence in Playwriting Award. He tied for a Harvey Award for Best New Talent for his work on Marvel Knights Four.
- Marvel Knights 4 #1–27 (April 2004 – April 2006), continued as Four #28–30 (May 2006 – July 2006)
- Nightcrawler #1–12 (Nov. 2004 – Jan. 2006)
- The Sensational Spider-Man vol. 2, #23–40 (July 2006 – Oct. 2007)
- Dead of Night featuring Man-Thing #1, 4 (April & July 2008)
- Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1–3 (July–Sept. 2008)
- Angel: Revelations #1–5 (July–Nov. 2008)
- The Stand: Captain Trips #1–5 (early Dec. 2008 – March 2009)
- The Stand: American Nightmares #1–5 (May–Oct. 2009)
- Marvel Divas #1–4 (Sept.–Dec. 2009)
- The Stand: Soul Survivors #1–5 (Dec. 2009 – May 2010)
- The Stand: Hardcases #1–5 (Aug. 2010 – Jan. 2011)
- Loki vol. 2, #1–4 (four-issue miniseries) (Dec. 2010 - May 2011)
- The Stand: No Man's land #1–5 (April–Aug. 2011)
- The Stand: The Night Has Come #1–6 (Oct. 2011 – March 2012)
- Archie Meets Glee #641-644 (March 2013 - June 2013)
- Afterlife with Archie #1 - present (Oct. 2013–present)
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 - present (Oct. 2014–present)
- The Mystery Plays, Dramatists Play Service, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8222-2038-1
- Say You Love Satan, Dramatists Play Service, 2005, ISBN 978-0-8222-2039-8
- Based on a Totally True Story, Dramatists Play Service, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8222-2224-8
- Dark Matters, Dramatists Play Service, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8222-2218-7
- Good Boys and True, Dramatists Play Service, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8222-2318-4
- King of Shadows, Dramatists Play Service, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8222-2356-6
- The Muckle Man, Dramatists Play Service, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8222-2333-7
- Rough Magic, Dramatists Play Service, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8222-2332-0
- The Velvet Sky, Dramatists Play Service, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8222-2331-3
- The Weird : a collection of short horror and pulp plays, Dramatists Play Service, 2008, ISBN 978-0-8222-2255-2
- Big Love (2009, staff writer; 2010, story editor; 2011, co-producer)
- 3.05 – "For Better or for Worse" (written by) (February 15, 2009)
- 4.03 – "Strange Bedfellows" (written by) (January 24, 2010)
- 5.09 – "Exorcism" (written by) (March 13, 2011)
- Glee (2011—2014, staff writer, co-producer)
- 3.05 – "The First Time" (written by) (November 8, 2011)
- 3.14 – "On My Way" (written by) (February 21, 2012)
- 4.06 – "Glease" (written by) (November 15, 2012)
- 4.16 – "Feud" (written by) (March 14, 2013)
- 5.06 – "Movin' Out" (written by) (November 21, 2013)
- 5.18 – "The Back-Up Plan" (written by) (April 29, 2014)
- Looking (2015, writer, co-executive producer)
- 2.04 – "Looking Down the Road" (written by) (February 8, 2015)
- 2.09 – "Looking for Sanctuary" (written by) (March 15, 2015)
- Supergirl (2015—2016, writer, supervising producer)
- 1.04 – "Livewire" (written by) (November 16, 2015)
- 1.08 – "Hostile Takeover" (written by) (December 14, 2015)
- 1.12 – "Bizarro" (written by) (February 1, 2016)
- Riverdale (2017-present, developer, showrunner, writer, executive producer)
- 1.01 – "Chapter One: The River's Edge " (written for television by) (January 26, 2017)
- 1.02 – "Chapter Two: A Touch of Evil " (written by) (February 2, 2017)
- 1.11 – "Chapter Eleven: To Riverdale and Back Again" (written by) (April 27, 2017)
- 1.13 – "Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter" (written by) (May 11, 2017)
- Carrie - October 2013
- The Town That Dreaded Sundown - 2014
- Morning Becomes Olestra, Cherry Red Productions
- The Ten Minute Play About Rosemary's Baby, July 11, 2001, Summer Camp 7 Fest at Soho Rep, New York City, New York
- Say You Love Satan, September 14, 2001, Dad's Garage Theatre Company, Atlanta, Georgia
- The Muckle Man, August 8, 2001, Source Theatre Company, Washington, DC.
- Weird Comic Book Fantasy, April 2003, Dad's Garage Theatre Company, Atlanta, Georgia
- Rough Magic, April 24, 2003, Yale School of Drama New Haven, CT
- The Mystery Plays, June 21, 2003, Second Stage Theater at McGinn/Cazale Theatre, New York, New York
- Dark Matters, December 3, 2003, Source Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.
- Golden Age, 2005, Horse Trade Theater Group/Tobacco bar Theatre Company at[Kraine Theater, New York, New York
- Rough Magic (world premiere), July 29, 2005, Hanger Theatre, Ithaca, NY
- The Velvet Sky, January 30, 2006, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington D.C.
- Bloody Mary, April 6, 2006, The Thursday Problem at 45th Street Theatre, New York, New York
- Based on a Totally True Story, April 11, 2006, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, New York
- King of Shadows, 2006, The Working Theater, Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.
- The Muckle Man (revised), January 25, 2007, City Theatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Rough Magic (revised), January 27, 2007, Rorschach Theatre at Casa del Pueblo Methodist Church, Washington D,C.
- The Picture Of Dorian Gray September 9, 2009, Round House Theatre, Bethesda, Maryland
- Doctor Cerberus, April 11, 2010, South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, California
- It's a Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman! (revised book), June 18, 2010, Dallas Theater Center Dallas, TX,
- The Weird, January 19, 2012, 12 Peers Theater, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania