Photography by M. Sharkey
The 74-year-old playwright has been showered with awards since he began working in theater since the late ‘60s, and is recognized as a trailblazer since some of his most renowned works—Love! Valour! Compassion!, Lisbon Traviata—were almost exclusively gay and yet well-received by a broad audience. An eminent chronicler of the gay experience, McNally’s 1991 landmark Lips Together, Teeth Apart dealt with homophobia and AIDS, and the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman, for which he wrote the book, has become a classic. Despite the success, he didn’t shy away from pushing buttons and his Corpus Christi, a modern-day retelling of the story of Jesus’s birth, continues to be produced by a new generation despite the controversy.
His longstanding passion for opera resulted in Master Class about Maria Callas (which was revived on Broadway in 2010), and Golden Age, which makes its New York City debut Off-Broadway this season with his friend Walter Bobbie directing. “I haven’t been this busy in years and years,” McNally says. And as long as he has a great director and actors, he plans to keep himself busy for years to come.
Photographed at the Box in New York City on September 13, 2012