Tarell Alvin McCraney (born October 17, 1980) is an American playwright and actor. He was recently appointed as the incoming chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. He is a member of Teo Castellanos/ D Projects Theater Company in Miami and in 2008 became RSC/Warwick International Playwright in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company. In April 2010, McCraney became the 43rd member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble.
Life and career
McCraney was born in Miami, Florida. He attended the New World School of the Arts (NWSA) in Miami, Florida, receiving the exemplary artist award and the Dean's Award in Theater. While attending NWSA, he also applied to and was awarded by the National YoungArts Foundation (1999, Theater). He matriculated into The Theatre School at DePaul University and received his BFA in acting. In May 2007 he graduated from Yale School of Drama's playwriting program, receiving the Cole Porter Playwriting Award upon graduation.
As an actor he has worked with directors such as Tina Landau of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago, Illinois, David Cromer, and B. J. Jones, artistic director of the Northlight Theatre (where McCraney co-starred in the Chicago premiere of Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange), and began a lasting working relationship with Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne of the Bouffes du Nord, Paris.
McCraney's Brother/Sister trilogy is set in the Louisiana projects and explores Yoruba mythology.
- Head of Passes (Steppenwolf Theatre, Berkeley Rep, The Public Theater)
- Choir Boy (Royal Court, Manhattan Theatre Club)
- American Trade, an adaptation of Hamlet for young people (RSC)
- Wig Out! (developed at Sundance Theatre Lab produced in New York by the Vineyard Theatre and in London by the Royal Court)
The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy
- The Brothers Size (simultaneously premiered in New York at The Public Theater, in association with the Foundry Theatre, and in London at the Young Vic, where it was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement at an Affiliated Theatre)
- In The Red And Brown Water (winner of the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition, produced at the Alliance Theatre and the Young Vic)
- Marcus, or the Secret of Sweet
- Run, Mourner, Run (adapted from Randall Kenan's short story), both of which premiered at Yale Cabaret. He directed Hamlet for the RSC's Young Shakespeare programme for GableStage in Miami.
In the summer of 2006, McCraney, Catherine Filloux and Joe Sutton wrote The Breach, a play on Katrina, the Gulf, and our nation, commissioned by Southern Rep in New Orleans, where it premiered in August 2007 to mark the two-year anniversary of the tragedy in New Orleans. The Breach also played at Seattle Rep in the winter of 2007.
- In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, a drama school project that is the inspiration for the 2016 film Moonlight.
Commissions for the Donmar Warehouse and Berkeley Rep. Choir Boy will receive its American premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club, and he will direct his own edit of Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra at the RSC, Public Theater, New York, and GableStage, Miami.
Awards and honors
- 2007 Whiting Award
- 2008 London's Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright
- 2009 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for The Brothers Size
- 2009 Steinberg Playwright Award
- 2013 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize
- 2013 MacArthur Fellowship
- "About Tarell Alvin McCraney". The Brother/Sister Plays. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- Baker, Dorie (March 4, 2013). "Yale awards $1.35 million to nine writers". YaleNews. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- Dolen, Christine, "Miami playwright McCraney wins $625,000 MacArthur Fellowship", Miami Herald, September 25, 2013. Retrieved 2016-11-04.