With dozens of absurdist comedies poking fun at Catholicism, cinema, marriage, and parenting, Durang has pierced the American subconscious, exposing disturbing self-delusions and outrageous truths along the way. But it wasn't until this year that he won a Tony Award for Best Play, for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which starred his college friend Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce as a grumpy gay man and proved that both his wit and career remain just as unpredictable.
Douglas Carter Beane
With an eclectic body of work -- even writing the updated book for the popular new revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella -- Beane has mostly stuck to contemporary satires, earning plenty of awards and fans along the way. However, for The Nance, his latest Broadway show, he turned his attention back to the 1930s, writing a vehicle for Nathan Lane to portray a closeted burlesque performer who plays an effeminate stage persona for laughs at the same time he's struggling to hide his own homosexuality. The decision paid off: The show won three Tonys this year.
After toiling for several decades on plays and TV scripts, Tolins turned his fascination with Barbra Streisand into a smash with his play Buyer & Cellar, a one-man show starring Michael Urie as a struggling actor (and a version of Babs herself) that continues to play Off-Broadway to packed audiences. Urie will perform it in Los Angeles and Chicago next year, and the producers are in talks for performances in San Francisco, Toronto, and Dallas. Up next: He and his husband, Robert Cary, are collaborating on a musical about ZZ Top and another about the life of talk-show host Ed Sullivan.
Photographed at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 23, 2013