The Dramatists Guild mourns the passing of its longtime Council member Terrence McNally, one of the most celebrated dramatists in the American canon. In addition to his impressive and prolific work as a Tony Award winning playwright (Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class) and musical theater bookwriter (Ragtime, Kiss of the Spider Woman,) Terrence was also a respected opera librettist, whose credits included the critically acclaimed Dead Man Walking.
Terrence McNally joined the Guild in 1963, served on Council of the Dramatists Guild since 1970, and served as vice-president from 1981 to 2001. He won the Guild’s Hull-Warriner award three times, and received the Dramatists Guild Career Achievement Award in 2010. Terrence was, in fact, a charter member of the Opera Committee, co-chaired by Mark Campbell and Michael Korie and formed to foster a more equitable approach to crediting collaborative artists, and to educating audiences about how new operas are made.
Last year, Terrence was interviewed as a participant in the Dramatists Guild Opera Committee’s filmed conversation with today’s opera creators, “Credit the Librettist.” Terrence was, in fact, a charter member of the Opera Committee. In honor of Terrence’s great contribution to the worlds of theater and opera, we are now releasing the full, uncut footage of his interview, filmed by Duncan Wilder and conducted by Michael Korie. In it, Terrence discusses his collaborations in both musical theater and opera. Filled with fascinating insights on craft, humorous anecdotes, as well some pointed critiques of current and past industry practices, this is one of the final interviews Terrence granted to give about his work — and is perhaps the only filmed record of him discussing his opera librettos: how they originated, and how they were created in close collaboration with composer Jake Heggie.