ABOUT THE PROJECT
The groundbreaking life and work of Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally - a personal journey through 5-decades of the American theatre, the struggle for LGBT rights, triumph over addiction, finding true love, and the need (now more than ever) for writers and artists to shape society's values.
SYNOPSIS / DESCRIPTION
“Terrence has had wild success, and he’s had shattering disappointments, but he believes that it’s worth giving life your best shot, it’s worth being an authentic human being, and above all that it is worth loving.” - Christine Baranski
EVERY ACT OF LIFE is the first cinematic portrait of one of the world's most honored and risk-taking playwrights. The film weaves together immersive storytelling, rare footage and photos, new performances, film of classic plays, and intimate access to Terrence’s personal life. It features: F. Murray Abraham, Lynn Ahrens, Jon Robin Baitz, Christine Baranski, Matthew Broderick, Zoe Caldwell, Brent Carver, Dominic Cuskern, Tyne Daly, Jason Danieley, Edie Falco, Stephen Flaherty, Malcolm Gets, John Glover, Anthony Heald, John Benjamin Hickey, Sheryl Kaller, John Kander, Roberta Kaplan, Tom Kirdahy, Justin Kirk, Larry Kramer, Nathan Lane, Angela Lansbury, Paul Libin, Joe Mantello, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Lynne Meadow, Rita Moreno, Jack O’Brien, Billy Porter, Chita Rivera, Doris Roberts, Don Roos, John Slattery, Micah Stock, Stanley Tucci, Richard Thomas, John Tillinger, Darko Tresnjak, Frederick Weller, and Patrick Wilson, and Edie Windsor.
Terrence has won 4 Tony Awards, an Emmy, and many other honors for plays, musicals, operas, and screenplays that include: Bad Habits; The Rink; The Ritz; Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune; Andre’s Mother; It’s Only a Play; Kiss of the Spider Woman; The Lisbon Traviata; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; A Perfect Ganesh; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Master Class; Ragtime; The Full Monty; Corpus Christi; Mothers and Sons; and The Visit. Audra McDonald says, “Terrence is able to make you laugh and cry and get to the core of the human condition in so many different ways. I defy you to name another playwright who can do that.”
Terrence grew up the son of an alcoholic beer distributor in southern Texas. He found life-changing encouragement from his High School English teacher, went to Columbia at 17, tutored John Steinbeck's children for a year after college (Steinbeck’s only advice was, "Don't write for the theater, it will break your heart”); had an infamous Broadway flop in 1964 at age 25; and his first hit directed by Elaine May. He’s written dozens of groundbreaking plays; had long relationships with Edward Albee and Wendy Wasserstein; lost a lover and many friends to AIDS; stopped drinking thanks to Angela Lansbury’s intervention; helped launch the careers of Nathan Lane, F. Murray Abraham, Audra McDonald, Doris Roberts, John Benjamin Hickey, and Joe Mantello; was an early champion of marriage equality and faced violent protests for his play Corpus Christi; fell in love with his now-husband Tom Kirdahy while battling lung cancer; has the musical Anastasia opening on Broadway in 2017, and is now working on three new plays.
In a recent speech, Terrence said: “Theater is collaborative, but life is collaborative. We need that spirit more than ever. We need to bring the barriers down, not build walls, but tear them down. I hope we’re very aware of the decisions we’re being asked to make as a country, but it starts with the individual. We need to love one another more, and see how connected we all really are. The stakes are really high now, higher than ever. And I think that’s the message of art.”
GENRE Documentary Feature
DIRECTOR Jeff Kaufman
PRODUCER Jeff Kaufman, Marcia Ross
Please help support this project with a tax deductible contribution.