For nearly sixty years, playwright Terrence McNally has been a force in American theater. His work, encompassing plays, musicals, teleplays, and opera, has been performed around the world. McNally is the consummate artist, delving into the human soul, fearlessly examining both the lighter and darker aspects of existence in an uncertain—and sometimes frightening—world.
This book looks at McNally’s life and work against the backdrop of a dynamic theatrical culture, tracing the ways in which an artist grows and responds to reality. Starting in the Off-Off-Broadway movement in the 1960s, McNally’s work has continually reflected a changing culture, from opposition to the Vietnam War through the emergence of AIDS and the gay rights movement.
Based on extensive interviews with McNally, it also features interviews with many of the artists—actors, designers, producers—with whom he’s collaborated, including Nathan Lane, Chita Rivera, Angela Lansbury, Audra McDonald, Swoosie Kurtz, John Glover, Joe Mantello, Arin Arbus, Paul Libin, and many more.
A Man of Much Importance presents a warm and affectionate look at the people and the practices that are unique to theater and performing arts. It goes beyond a traditional biography and illuminates the evolution of anartist—not merely as an individual creative force but also within the context of a collaborative, interdependent community of artists who inspire one another and give voice and dimension to the creative process.