Larry Kramer is an American playwright, film producer, public health advocate, LGBT rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for Columbia Pictures, which led him to London where he worked with United Artists. There he wrote the screenplay for the 1969 film Women in Love and earned an Academy Award nomination for his work. Kramer introduced a controversial and confrontational style in his novel Faggots, which earned mixed reviews and emphatic denunciations from elements within the gay community for Kramer's one-sided portrayal of shallow, promiscuous gay relationships in the 1970s. Kramer witnessed the spread of the disease known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome among his friends in 1980, he co-founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis, which has become the world's largest private organization assisting people living with AIDS. Kramer grew frustrated with bureaucratic paralysis and the apathy of gay men to the AIDS crisis, wished to engage in further action than the social services GMHC provided.
He expressed his frustration by writing a play titled The Normal Heart, produced at The Public Theater in New York City in 1985. His political activism continued with the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power in 1987, an influential direct action protest organization with the aim of gaining more public action to fight the AIDS crisis. ACT UP has been credited with changing public health policy and the perception of people living with AIDS, with raising awareness of HIV and AIDS-related diseases. Kramer has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his play The Destiny of Me, he is a two-time recipient of the Obie Award; the younger of two children, Kramer was born in Bridgeport and considered an "unwanted child" by his Jewish parents, an attorney and a social worker. When the family moved to Maryland they found themselves in a much lower socioeconomic bracket than that of Kramer's high school peers. Kramer had become sexually involved with a male friend in junior high school, but he dated girls in high school.
His father wanted him to marry a woman with money and thus pressed him to become a member of Pi Tau Pi, a Jewish fraternity. Kramer enrolled at Yale University in 1953, he felt lonely, earned lower grades than those to which he was accustomed. He attempted suicide by an overdose of aspirin because he felt like he was the "only gay student on campus"; the experience left him determined to explore his sexuality and set him on the path to fight "for gay people's worth". The next semester, he had an affair with his German professor – his first requited romantic relationship with a man; when the professor was scheduled to study in Europe, he invited Kramer to accompany him, but Kramer opted not to go. Yale had been a family tradition: Kramer's father, older brother Arthur, two uncles were alumni. Kramer enjoyed the Varsity Glee Club during his remaining time at Yale, he graduated in 1957 with a degree in English. According to Kramer, every drama he has written derives from a desire to understand love's nature and its obstacles.
Kramer became involved with movie production at age 23 by taking a job as a Teletype operator at Columbia Pictures, agreeing to the position only because the machine was across the hall from the president's office. He won a position in the story department reworking scripts, his first writing credit was as a dialogue writer for Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, a teen sex comedy. He followed that with the 1969 Oscar-nominated screenplay Women in Love, an adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's novel, he next penned what Kramer calls "the only thing in my life I'm ashamed of," the 1973 musical remake of Frank Capra's Lost Horizon, a notorious critical and commercial failure whose screenplay was based closely on Capra's film. Kramer has said that his well-negotiated fee for this work, skillfully invested by his brother, made him financially self-sufficient. Kramer began to integrate homosexual themes into his work, tried writing for the stage, he wrote Sissies' Scrapbook in 1973, a dramatic play about four friends, one of whom is gay, their dysfunctional relationships.
Kramer called it a play about "cowardice and the inability of some men to grow up, leave the emotional bondage of male collegiate camaraderie, assume adult responsibilities". The play was first produced in a theater set up in an old YMCA gymnasium on 53rd Street and Eighth Avenue called the Playwrights Horizons. Live theater moved him to believing. Although the play was given a somewhat favorable review by The New York Times, it was closed by the producer and Kramer was so distraught that he decided never to write for the stage again stating, "You must be a masochist to work in the theater and a sadist to succeed on its stages."Kramer next wrote A Minor Dark Age, though it failed to be produced. Frank Rich, in the foreword to a Grove Press collection of Kramer's less-known works, wrote that "dreamlike quality of the writing is haunting" in Dark Age, that its themes, such as the exploration of the difference between sex and passion, "are staples of his entire output" that would portend his future work, including the 1978 novel Faggots.
In 1978, Kramer delivered the final of four drafts of a novel that he wrote about the fast lifestyle of gay men of Fire Island and Manhattan. In Faggots, the primary character was modeled on himself, a man, unable to find love while encountering the drugs and emotionless sex in the trendy bars and discos, he stated his inspiration for the novel: "I wanted to be in love. Everybody I knew felt the same way. I think most people
Samuel Shepard Rogers III, known professionally as Sam Shepard, was an American actor, author and director whose career spanned half a century. He won ten Obie Awards for directing, the most won by any writer or director, he wrote 44 plays as well as several books of short stories and memoirs. Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in the 1983 film The Right Stuff, he received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009. New York magazine described Shepard as "the greatest American playwright of his generation."Shepard's plays are known for their bleak, surrealist elements, black comedy, rootless characters living on the outskirts of American society. His style evolved from the absurdism of his early off-off-Broadway work to the realism of plays like Buried Child and Curse of the Starving Class.
Shepard was born on November 1943, in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He was named Samuel Shepard Rogers III after his father, Samuel Shepard Rogers, Jr. but was called Steve Rogers. Samuel Shepard Rogers, Jr. was a teacher and farmer who served in the United States Army Air Forces as a bomber pilot during World War II. Shepard characterized his father as "a drinking man, a dedicated alcoholic", his mother, Jane Elaine, was a native of Chicago. Shepard worked on a ranch as a teenager. After graduating from Duarte High School in Duarte, California in 1961, he studied animal husbandry at nearby Mt. San Antonio College. While at college, Shepard became enamored of Samuel Beckett and abstract expressionism, he dropped out to join the Bishop's Company. Shepard found work as a busboy at the Village Gate nightclub when he arrived in New York City, in 1962 became involved in the off-off-Broadway theater scene through Ralph Cook, the Village Gate's head waiter. Steve Rogers adopted the professional name Sam Shepard.
Although his plays would be staged at several off-off-Broadway venues, Shepard was most connected with Cook's Theatre Genesis, housed at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery in the East Village. In 1965, Shepard's one-act plays Dog and The Rocking Chair were produced at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club; this was the first in many productions of Shepard's work at La MaMa during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. In 1967, Tom O'Horgan directed Shepard's Melodrama Play alongside Leonard Melfi's Times Square and Rochelle Owens' Futz at La MaMa. In 1969, Jeff Bleckner directed; the Unseen Hand would influence Richard O'Brien's musical The Rocky Horror Show. Bleckner directed The Unseen Hand alongside Forensic and the Navigators at the nearby Astor Place Theater in 1970. Shepard's play. Seth Allen directed Melodrama Play at La MaMa the following year. In 1981, Tony Barsha directed The Unseen Hand at La MaMa; the production transferred to the Provincetown Playhouse and ran for over 100 performances. Syracuse Stage co-produced The Tooth of Crime at La MaMa in 1983.
In 1983, the Overtone Theatre and New Writers at the Westside co-produced Shepard's plays Superstitions and The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife at La MaMa. John Densmore performed in his own play Skins and Shepard and Joseph Chaikin's play Tongues, directed as a double bill by Tony Abatemarco, at La MaMa in 1984. Nicholas Swyrydenko directed a production of Geography of a Horse Dreamer at La MaMa in 1985. Several of Shepard's early plays, including Red Cross and La Turista, were directed by Jacques Levy. A patron of the Chelsea Hotel scene, he contributed to Kenneth Tynan's Oh! Calcutta! and drummed sporadically from 1967 through 1971 with the psychedelic folk band The Holy Modal Rounders, appearing on their albums Indian War Whoop and The Moray Eels Eat The Holy Modal Rounders. After winning six Obie Awards between 1966 and 1968, Shepard emerged as a screenwriter with Robert Frank's Me and My Brother and Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point. Cowboy Mouth, a collaboration with his then-lover Patti Smith, was staged at The American Place Theatre in April 1971, providing early exposure for Smith, who became a well-known musician.
The story and characters in Cowboy Mouth were loosely inspired by Smith's relationship. After opening night, he abandoned the production and fled to New England without a word to anyone involved. Shortly thereafter, Shepard relocated with his son to London. While in London, he immersed himself in the study of G. I. Gurdjieff's a recurring preoccupation for much of his life. Returning to the United States in 1975, he moved to the 20-acre Flying Y Ranch in Mill Valley, where he raised a young colt named Drum and rode double with his young son on an appaloosa named Cody. Shepard continued to write plays and served for a semester as Regents' Professor of Drama at the University of California, Davis. Shepard accompanied Bob Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Revue of 1975 as the screenwriter for Renaldo and Clara that emerged from the tour. However, because much of the film was improvised, Shepard's work was used, his diary of the tour, Rolling Thunder Logbook, was published in 1978. A decade Dylan and Shepard co-wrote the 11-minute song "Brownsville Girl", included on Dylan's 1986 Knocked Out Loaded album and on compilations.
In 1975, Shepard was named playwright-in-residence at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco, where he created many of his notable works, including his
Lanford Wilson was an American playwright. His work, as described by The New York Times, was "earthy, realist admired performed." Wilson helped to advance the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement with his earliest plays, which were first produced at the Caffe Cino beginning in 1964. He was one of the first playwrights to move from Off-Off-Broadway to Off-Broadway Broadway and beyond, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1980 and was elected in 2001 to the Theater Hall of Fame. In 2004, Wilson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a Master American Dramatist, he has won a Drama Desk Award and five Obie Awards. Wilson's 1964 short play The Madness of Lady Bright was his first major success and led to further works throughout the 1960s that expressed a variety of social and romantic themes. In 1969, he co-founded the Circle Repertory Company with theatre director Marshall W. Mason, he wrote many plays for the Circle Repertory in the 1970s.
His 1973 play The Hot l Baltimore was the company's first major success with both audiences and critics. The Off-Broadway production exceeded 1,000 performances, his play Fifth of July was first produced at Circle Repertory in 1978. He received a Tony Award nomination for its Broadway production, which opened in 1980. A prequel to Fifth of July called Talley's Folly opened on Broadway before Fifth of July and won Wilson the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and his first Tony nomination. Burn This was another Broadway success. Wilson wrote the libretti for several 20th-century operas. Wilson was born to Violetta Tate Wilson in Lebanon, Missouri. After his parents divorced when he was 5, he moved with his mother to Springfield, where they lived until she remarried; when he was 11, his mother married Walt E. Lenhard, a farmer from Ozark and they both moved in with him, he had two half-brothers and Jim, one stepsister, Judy. He developed a love for film and art; as a child, Wilson enjoyed writing short stories and going to see plays performed at Southwest Missouri State College.
A production of Brigadoon had a resounding effect on Wilson, saying that "after that town came back to life on stage, movies didn't stand a chance". He developed an interest in acting and performed in his high school plays, including the role of Tom in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. After graduating from Ozark High School in 1955, Wilson began his collegiate studies at Southwest Missouri State College. In 1956, he moved to San Diego, he studied art and art history at San Diego State College as well as worked as a riveter at the Ryan Aircraft Plant. His reunion with his father was difficult, but the relationship improved in years, Wilson based his play Lemon Sky on their relationship. Wilson left college and moved to Chicago in 1957, where he worked as a graphic artist for an advertising firm. During this time, Wilson realized that the short stories he had always enjoyed writing would be more effective as plays, began to study playwriting at the University of Chicago extension program.
In 1962, Wilson moved to Greenwich Village in New York City. He worked in odd jobs, such as a temporary typist, a reservations clerk at Americana Hotel, at the complaint desk of a furniture store, at a dishwashing job where a co-worker incorrectly called him "Lance". After that, Wilson's friends all called him by that name. Wilson worked for the subscription office of the New York Shakespeare Festival, which gave him formative insight into the world of professional theatre. Wilson first encountered the Caffe Cino; the experience left him thinking that "theatre could be both dangerous and funny in that way at the same time". After the show, Wilson introduced himself to Cino co-founder and producer Joe Cino, a pioneer of the Off-Off-Broadway movement. Cino encouraged Wilson to submit a play to the Cino. In Cino, Wilson found a mentor who would not only critique his plays, but stage them. Wilson's first play to premiere at Cino was So Long at the Fair, in August 1963, his works for Caffe Cino include Ludlow Fair, Home Free!, The Madness of Lady Bright.
He continued working odd jobs to support himself during these early years. The Madness of Lady Bright premiered at Caffe Cino in May 1964; the play concerns "Lady" Bright, a forty-year-old "screaming preening queen". On a sultry summer day in the 1960s, while in his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, "Lady" Bright loses his mind, it is a complex and comic tragedy of striking originality, one of Wilson's most notable and finest works. At its heart, the work is a penetrating study of loneliness and isolation, it was one of off-off-Broadway's first significant successes, running for over 200 performances. The Madness of Lady Bright set a record as the longest-running play at Caffe Cino. In 1965, Wilson began writing plays for Ellen Stewart's La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in the East Village, his first full-length plays premiered at La MaMa, including Balm in Gilead, which depicted a doomed romance in an urban greasy spoon diner inhabited by junkies and thieves. Balm in Gilead premiered at La MaMa in 1965, directed by Marshall W. Mason.
The play was revived in 1984 by Circle Repertory Company and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, directed by John Malkovich. In 1965, Wilson wrote and directed Miss Williams for a benefit performance at La MaMa called "
A. R. Gurney
Albert Ramsdell Gurney Jr. was an American playwright and academic. He is known for works including The Dining Room, Sweet Sue, The Cocktail Hour, for his Pulitzer Prize nominated play Love Letters, his series of plays about upper-class WASP life in contemporary America have been called "penetratingly witty studies of the WASP ascendancy in retreat." Gurney was born on November 1, 1930 in Buffalo, New York to Albert Ramsdell Gurney, Sr., president of Gurney and Bourne, an insurance and real estate company in Buffalo, Marion Spaulding. His parents had three children, of which Gurney was the middle: Evelyn Gurney Miller, Albert Ramsdell Gurney, Jr. and Stephen S. Gurney, his maternal grandparents were Elbridge G. Spaulding and Marion Caryl Ely. Ely was the daughter of William Caryl Ely, a lawyer and Member of the New York State Assembly in 1883. Gurney's 2x great-grandfather was Elbridge G. Spaulding, a former Mayor of Buffalo, NY State Treasurer, member of the U. S. House of Representatives who supported the idea for the first U.
S. currency not backed by gold or silver, thus credited with helping to keep the Union economy afloat during the Civil War. Gurney attended the Nichols School in Buffalo and graduated from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, he attended Williams College, graduating in 1952, the Yale School of Drama, graduating in 1958, after which he began teaching Humanities at MIT. In 1959, following graduation from Yale, Gurney taught English and Latin at a day school, Belmont Hill School, in Belmont, Massachusetts for one year, he joined Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a professor of humanities and professor of literature. He began writing plays such as Children and The Middle Ages while at MIT, but it was his great success with The Dining Room that allowed him to write full-time. After The Dining Room, Gurney wrote a number of plays, most of them concerning WASPs of the American northeast. While at Yale, Gurney wrote Love in Buffalo, the first musical produced at the Yale School of Drama.
Since he is known to be a prolific writer, always writing something. His first play in New York, which ran for just one performance in October 1968, The David Show, premiered at the Players' Theater on MacDougal Street; the play was cut after its first show by sneers from the entire press except for two enthusiasts, Edith Oliver in The New Yorker and another from the Village Voice. His 2015 play and Money, is about a mature woman making plans to dispose of her fortune, the twists that ensue; the world premiere was at New York's Signature Theatre in August 2015. Before that, The Grand Manner, a play about his real life encounter with famed actress Katharine Cornell in her production of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, was produced and performed by Lincoln Center for the summer of 2010, it was produced in Buffalo by the Kavinoky Theatre. He appeared in several of his plays including most notably Love Letters. In June, 1957, Gurney married Molly Goodyear They lived in Boston until 1983, when they moved their family to New York to be near the theater and publishers while he was on sabbatical from MIT.
Together, they had four children: George Goodyear Gurney, who married Constance "Connie" Lyman Warren in 1985. Amy Ramsdell Gurney, who married Frederick Snow Nicholas III in 1985. Evelyn "Evie" R. Gurney, who married Christopher Bumcrot Benjamin GurneyGurney's father, Albert Ramsdell Gurney, Sr. died in 1977 and Molly's mother, Sarah Norton, died in 1978. After their deaths, his mother, married Molly's father and remained married until Marion's death in 2001, followed by George's death in 2002. Gurney died at his home in Manhattan, on June 13, 2017, at the age of 86. In 2006, Gurney was elected a member of the American Academy of Letters. In 2007, Gurney received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist. Gurney was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Obie Awards presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice. Gurney's plays explore the theme of declining upper-class "WASP" life in contemporary America; the Wall Street Journal has called his works "penetratingly witty studies of the WASP ascendancy in retreat."
Several of his works are loosely based on his patrician upbringing, including The Cocktail Hour and Indian Blood. The New York Times drama critic Frank Rich, in his review of The Dining Room, wrote, "As a chronicler of contemporary America's most unfashionable social stratum — upper-middle-class WASPs, this playwright has no current theatrical peer."In his 1988 play, "The Cocktail Hour", the lead character tells her playwright son that theater critics "don't like us.... They resent us, they think we're all superficial and all alcoholics. Only the latter is true." The New York Times described the play as witty observations about a nearly extinct patrician class that regards psychiatry as an affront to good manners, underpaid hired help as a birthright. In a 1989 interview with the New York Times, Gurney said, "Just as it's mentioned in The Cocktail Hour,' my great-grandfather hung up his clothes one day and walked into the Niagara River and no one understood why." Gurney added. My father could never mention it, it affected the family well into the fourth generation as a dark and unexplainable gesture.
It made my father and his father desperate to be accepted, to be conventional, comfortable. It made them commit themselves to an
Timothy Mason (playwright)
Timothy Peter Mason is an American playwright. He has written a number of plays including the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’’ Timothy Mason was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. As a young child, he moved with his family to Minneapolis, he is the son of Reverend John Martin Mason II, an author, a minister, who traveled the country as an advocate for the elderly. Timothy Mason’s mother was Mertrice Rosalys Mason. While in high school Timothy Mason performed in a number of plays at the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, he earned a degree at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. While in college he wrote plays for the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, including Robin Hood a Story of the Forest and Kidnapped in London, which won the 1972 National Society of Arts and Letters Award. Circle Repertory Company produced his plays Levitation, Only You, Babylon Gardens, The Fiery Furnace, his plays have been produced by Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Repertory, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, the Jungle Theatre of Minneapolis, the Old Globe, the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, the Guthrie Theater Lab, in Minneapolis, Pioneer Memorial Theatre in Salt Lake City, the Royal National Theatre, London.
He has been a resident playwright The Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, a company playwright at Circle Repertory Company in New York City and guest playwriting instructor at state universities in Minnesota, Utah and Arizona. Mason created a 5-play "Young Americans Cycle" in collaboration with San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater’s Young Conservatory His published works include many of his plays, Timothy Mason: Ten Plays for Children From the Repertory of the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis, which features theatrical adaptations of classic works of children's literature, his play Bearclaw was commissioned by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, it premiered in 1984 at the White Barn Theatre in Westport Connecticut. It was produced by Circle Repertory Lucille Lortell, it was staged the following year by the Seattle Repertory Theatre, it was published in 1989 in The Best Short Plays of 1988-1989. Mason has won a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award, the W. Alton Jones Foundation Award, the Hollywood DramaLogue Award, the Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Berilla Kerr Playwrights Award, the National Society of Arts and Letters Award.
In a Northern Landscape Levitation Bearclaw Only You Babylon Gardens The Fiery Furnace Before I Got My Eye Put Out Ascension Day The Less Than Human Club Time on Fire Mullen's Alley My Life in the Silents The Life to Come Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - The Musical" Sorry"
David Alan Mamet is an American playwright, film director and author. He won a Pulitzer Prize and received Tony nominations for his plays Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow, he first gained critical acclaim for a trio of off-Broadway 70s plays: The Duck Variations, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, American Buffalo. His plays Race and The Penitent opened on Broadway in 2009 and previewed off-Broadway in 2017. Feature films that Mamet both wrote and directed include House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner and Redbelt, his screenwriting credits include The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Verdict, The Untouchables, Wag the Dog, Hannibal. Mamet himself wrote the screenplay for the 1992 adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross, wrote and directed the 1994 adaptation of his play Oleanna, he was the executive producer and frequent writer for the TV show The Unit. Mamet's books include: a novel about the lynching of Leo Frank. Mamet was born in 1947 in Chicago to Lenore June, a teacher, Bernard Morris Mamet, a labor attorney.
Mamet's father was the son of Polish Ashkenazi immigrants. One of his earliest jobs was as a busboy at The Second City, he worked as an actor, editor for Oui magazine and as a cab-driver. He was educated at the progressive Francis W. Parker School and at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. At the Chicago Public Library Foundation 20th anniversary fundraiser in 2006, Mamet announced "My alma mater is the Chicago Public Library. I got what little educational foundation I got in the third-floor reading room, under the tutelage of a Coca-Cola sign". After a move to Chicago's North Side neighborhood, Mamet encountered theater director Robert Sickinger, began to work at Sickinger's Hull House Theatre; this represented the beginning of Mamet's lifelong involvement with the theater. Mamet is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross, which received its first Broadway revival in the summer of 2005. His play Race, which opened on Broadway on December 6, 2009 and featured James Spader, David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington, Richard Thomas in the cast, received mixed reviews.
His play The Anarchist, starring Patti LuPone and Debra Winger, in her Broadway debut, opened on Broadway on November 13, 2012 in previews and was scheduled to close on December 16, 2012. His 2017 play The Penitent previewed off-Broadway on February 8, 2017. In 2002, Mamet was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Mamet received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for Grand Master of American Theater in 2010. In 2017, Mamet released an online class for writers entitled, it was announced in 2019 that David Mamet will return to the London West End with his new play Bitter Wheat starring John Malkovich. Mamet first film work was as a screenwriter directing his own scripts. Mamet's first produced screenplay was the 1981 production of The Postman Always Rings Twice, based on James M. Cain's novel, he received an Academy Award nomination one year for The Verdict, written in the late 1970s. He wrote the screenplay for The Untouchables, The Edge, Wag the Dog and Hannibal.
In 1987, Mamet made his film directing debut with his screenplay House of Games, which won Best Film and Best Screenplay awards at the 1987 Venice Film Festival and the Film of the Year in 1989 from the London Film Critics' Circle Awards. The film starred his then-wife, Lindsay Crouse, many longtime stage associates and friends, including fellow Goddard College graduates. Mamet was quoted as saying, "It was my first film as a director and I needed support, so I stacked the deck." After House of Games, Mamet wrote and directed two more films focusing on the world of con artists, The Spanish Prisoner and Heist. Other films that Mamet both wrote and directed include: Things Change, Oleanna, The Winslow Boy and Main, Spartan and the 2013 bio-pic TV movie Phil Spector. A feature-length film, a thriller titled Blackbird, was intended for release in 2015, but is still in development; when Mamet adapted his play for the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross, he wrote an additional part for Alec Baldwin. Mamet continues to work with an informal repertory company for his films, including Crouse, William H. Macy, Joe Mantegna, Rebecca Pidgeon, as well as the aforementioned school friends.
Mamet did a rewrite of the script for Ronin under the pseudonym "Richard Weisz" and turned in an early version of a script for Malcolm X, rejected by director Spike Lee. In 2000, Mamet directed a film version of Catastrophe, a one-act
Jon Robin Baitz
Jon Robin Baitz is an American playwright and television producer. He is a two time Pulitzer Prize finalist, as well as a Guggenheim, American Academy of Arts and Letters, National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. Baitz was born to a Jewish family in Los Angeles, the son of Edward Baitz, an executive of the Carnation Company. Baitz was raised in Brazil and South Africa before the family returned to California, where he attended Beverly Hills High School. On speaking about the influence of his time growing up abroad on his life and work, Baitz states: I think what happened was that I felt so foreign so that I became adept at observing. I learned a kind of short hand; because you’re a foreigner, an alien you have to decode all of the customs and the manners, not just the language. So you begin to feel detached, not a good thing, and it had that effect upon my writing initially. You start this little dialogue with yourself about what things mean and suddenly you’re 20-something-years-old and you’re continuing that dialogue on paper.
After graduation from high school, Baitz did not attend college, instead he worked as a bookstore clerk and assistant to two producers, the experiences became the basis for his first play, a one-acter entitled Mizlansky/Zilinsky. He drew on his own background for his first two-act play, The Film Society, about the staff of a prep school in South Africa, its 1987 success in Los Angeles led to an Off-Broadway production with Nathan Lane in 1988, which earned him a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding New Play. This was followed by The Substance of Fire in 1991 with Ron Rifkin and Sarah Jessica Parker and The End of the Day Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 1992, starring Roger Rees. Baitz wrote and directed the two-character play Three Hotels, based on his parents, for a presentation on PBS's "American Playhouse", in March 1991; the cast starred Kate Nelligan. He reworked the material for a stage play, earning a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding New Play. In 1993, he co-scripted The Frightening Frammis, directed by Tom Cruise and aired as an episode of the Showtime anthology series Fallen Angels.
Two years Henry Jaglom cast him as a gay playwright who achieves success at an early age - a character inspired by Baitz himself - in the film Last Summer in the Hamptons. In 1996 he appeared as Michelle Pfeiffer's business associate in the film comedy One Fine Day, his semi-autobiographical play A Fair Country was presented Off-Broadway at the Lincoln Center Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in 1996; the play was one of the three finalists for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The nominating committee said of the play "Written with sharp, pointed dialogue, peopled by vivid characters and played against an international setting of Africa and Central America."Subsequent stage works include Mizlansky/Zilinsky or "Schmucks," a revised version of Mizlansky/Zilinsky, starring Nathan Lane, directed by Baitz's then-partner Joe Mantello, a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Ten Unknowns, starring Donald Sutherland and Julianna Margulies, The Paris Letter with Ron Rifkin and John Glover. His screenplays include the adaptation of his own Substance of Fire, with Tony Goldwyn and Timothy Hutton joining original cast members Rifkin and Parker, People I Know, which starred Al Pacino.
Baitz's occasional work writing for such television series as The West Wing and Alias led to his position as creator and executive producer of the ABC TV drama Brothers & Sisters, which premiered in September 2006 and ran for five seasons, ending in May 2011. Baitz was the New School for Drama's artist in residence for the 2009-2010 school year, his play Other Desert Cities opened Off-Broadway at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in New York on January 13, 2011, starring Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin, Stacy Keach, Thomas Sadoski and Elizabeth Marvel; the play was titled Love and Mercy. The production transferred to Broadway, opened at the Booth Theatre on November 3, 2011, with Judith Light replacing Lavin and Rachel Griffiths replacing Marvel. Baitz wrote the screenplay for the 2015 film Stonewall. Baitz is Jewish. From 1990 to 2002, Baitz was the romantic partner of director Joe Mantello. Since 2015, he has been married to graphic novels publisher Leon Avelino; the Film Society -- 1988 Three Hotels -- 1993, 1993 Drama Desk Award Outstanding New Play nominee A Fair Country -- 1996 Mizlansky/Zilinsky or Schmucks -- 1998 Hedda Gabler -- 2001 Ten Unknowns -- 2001, 2001 Lucille Lortel Award nominee, Outstanding Play The Paris Letter -- 2005, 2006 Lucille Lortel Award nominee, Outstanding Play Other Desert Cities -- 2011 The Substance of Fire -- 1992 2014 Vicuña -- 2016 Three Hotels -- PBS American Playhouse 1991 The Frightening Frammis -- Showtime Fallen Angels, television, 1993 Last Summer in the Hamptons -- 1995 One Fine Day -- 1996 Substance of Fire -- 1996 People I Know -- 2003 The Long Goodbye -- season 4 episode of The West Wing, 2003 Brothers & Sisters -- ABC television series, 2006 The Slap -- NBC miniseries, 2014 Stonewall -- 2015 Dramatic license LGBT culture in New York City Jon Robin Baitz on IMDb Jon Robin Baitz at AllMovie Internet Off-Broadway Database, Jon Robin Baitz BOMB Magazine interview with Jon Robin Baitz by Craig Gholson