Premiere American Playwright who has won two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, and an Emmy Award for "Andre's Mother", as well as many other awards and citations.
He was nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best New Musical of the 2003 season for "The Book for Ragtime", performed at the Piccadilly Theatre.
Has won four Tony Awards: two as author of a Best Play winner, in 1995 for "Love! Valour! Compassion: and, the next year, in 1996, for "Master Class;" and twice as best Book (Musical), in 1993 for "Kiss of the Spider Woman--The Musical" and in 1998 for "Ragtime." He was also Tony-nominated in 2001 as Best Book (Musical) for "The Full Monty."
Nominated for the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play "A Perfect Ganesh".
David Yazbeck and his musical, "The Full Monty" at the Kokandy Productions Theatre in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for a 2015 Joseph Jefferson Non-Equity Award for Musical Production.
"Here's Where I Belong" - Broadway previews began February 7, the opening date of Feb. 20 was postponed for rewrites, rescheduled to open at the Billy Rose Theatre, March 3, 1968. The musical book adaptation based on the 1952 novel "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck, was adapted by author Terrence McNally (b.1939). The music was by Robert Waldman (b.1936), the lyrics by Alfred Uhry (b.1936), the team would later write a far superior musical "The Robber Bridegroom," and Uhry would win acclaim for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Driving Miss Daisy." Dance music was composed by Arnold Goland (b.1926). Michael Kahn (b.1939) made his Broadway debut as director, the most important roles were played by talented unknowns (Walter McGinn (at age 32, b.1936-d.1977, age 40) and Heather MacRae (at age 22, b.1946), who was Gordon MacRae's daughter (Gordon MacRae: b.1921-d.1986, 64), and the above-the-title "stars" were non-musical non-stars Paul Rogers (who sang pleasantly and spoke without a trace of his English accent) and Nancy Wickwire. Paul Rogers (at age 51, b.03:22.1917- d.10:06,2013, age 96) performed the role of the father, Adam Trask. Nancy Wickwire (at age 43, b.11:20, 1925 - d.07:10, 1976, age 50-cancer) was a seasoned stage and television actress in the role of Kate. Mitch Miller (at age 57, b.1911-d.2010, age 99) was an influential Mercury and Columbia record producer who became hugely popular recording artist and an unlikely television star in the '60s leading a male choral group in familiar old songs and inviting people to sing along. The "Sing Along With Mitch" album series, which began in 1958, was an immense success, finding an eager audience among older listeners to rock 'n' roll. Mitch Miller departed Columbia records in 1965, had connected with the musical's creative team acting as a developer-producer raising $500,000, in association with United Artists, produced the disastrous flop. The show opened in Philadelphia (Jan 15, 1968, for 20 performances), where a fire among the stage spotlights proved to be the only moment of excitement on opening preview night. After terrible Philadelphia drama-critical newspaper reviews, choreographer Hanya Holm, just about the only person involved in the show who had any experience with Broadway musicals, was replaced by choreographer Tony Mordente, as if Holm's work were the problem with the show. The scenery was designed by Ming Cho Lee, assisted by scenic designers John M. Braden, Don Jensen and Leigh Rand. Costumes were designed by Ruth Motley, with lighting by Jules Fisher (b.1937), musical direction by Theodore Saidenberg. Saidenberg had previously been with Mitch Miller on his TV series "Sing Along With Mitch." The Broadway bound musical, while eliminating major portions of Steinbeck's story, followed the novel and film's story of the Trask family in the Salinas Valley in the early 1900's, in particular brooding son Cal's rivalry with his father 's preferred son, Aron. As in the other versions, Cal finds out that his mother, whom he believed dead, runs a nearby cat-house, and Aron's girl Abra is ineluctably drawn to the "bad" brother. After initial terrible drama critical reviews, during the Philadelphia engagement, Producer Mitch Miller brought in script-book-doctor - Gordon Cutler. When book changes went in that were not his own in Philadelphia, Terrence McNally asked to have his name removed from the credits. Miller claimed that McNally had not made the changes requested and refused to remove his name, stating that eighty-five percent of the book was still McNally's. Finally, Miller relented, and the Broadway Playbill listed a nom de plume for the novelist 'Alex Gordon,' as the author of the book. In spite of the rewrites, much of McNally's original work remained. Steinbeck, whose "Sweet Thursday" had not succeeded as "Pipe Dream," once again resisted musicalization. Much of the plot hinged on Aron's plans to ship frozen lettuce east and Cal's dabbling in bean futures, material unsuited to song and dance. The lettuce ballet musical material in the show about packing and shipping of lettuce was expectedly terrible, as were all the production numbers. As long as "Here's Where I Belong" concentrated on Cal, Aron, and Abra, motivation was better, a pretty ballad called "Waking Up Sun" and a nice duet for the brothers called "No Time." But the score did not help sufficiently, and Steinbeck's bleak, dullish story proved too dreary for a musical. Five songs were dropped during the Philadelphia engagement. "Here's Where I Belong" opened and closed on the same day - March 3rd, 1968, with only one performance, considered a smashing flop disaster. On opening and closing night, nineteen members of an association known as the Oriental Actors of America picketed the theatre to protest the presence in the show of James Coco, a McNally favorite, absurdly cast as Lee, the Chinese houseboy who raised Adam Trask's sons, Aron and Cal. The show's Broadway critic's reviews were terrible.
Thirteen years after the 1955 Warner Brothers feature film "East of Eden" was premiered in New York City, a dramatic-musical-play adaptation of the John Steinbeck 1952 novel was developed in 1966, re-titled for a New York City Broadway presentation - "Here's Where I Belong" - opening try-out performances on January 15, 1968 at the Shubert Theatre, Philadelphia, PA., closing after 20 performances, to move to Broadway's Billy Rose Theater. Five musical numbers were dropped from the production during the Philadelphia Shubert Theatre try-out. After Broadway's Billy Rose Theatre previews began performances on February 7, to allow more time for rewrites to the book, the official opening on Broadway was postponed from February 20, 1968 to March 2, 1968, Terrence McNally wrote the musical's book, but left the production during the out-of-town Philadelphia try out, Terrence McNally asked that his name be removed from the credits prior to opening night, with 'Alex Gordon' as a pseudonym in the Playbill credits. The musical opened in New York City, at the Billy Rose Theater for previews on February 7, with 20 preview performances. Opening Date and closing date are the same, March 3, 1968 - with only 1 official disastrous performance. The production Playbill credits are as follows: Book: Alex Gordon (Terrence McNally), Gordon Cotler; Lyrics: Alfred Uhry; Music: Robert Waldman; Dance Music: Arnold Goland; Musical Direction, Dance and Vocal Arrangements: Theodore Saidenberg; Direction: Michael Kahn; Producers: Mitch Miller in association with United Artists; Orchestrations: Norman Leyden, Glenn Osser, Jonathan Tunick; Choreography: Tony Mordente; Lettuce Harvest Ballet Choreographer: Hanya Holm (uncredited); Scenic Design: Ming Cho Lee; Assistant Scenic Designer: John M. Braden, Don Jensen, Leigh Rand; Costumes: Motley; Lighting: Jules Fisher; Production Stage Manager: William Dodds; Stage Manager: D.W. Koehler; Press Representative: Frank Goodman, Martin Schwartz; Assistant to Mr. Lee: John Scheffler, Charles Ard. Cast as follows: Paul Rogers (Adam Trask); Walter McGinn (Caleb Trask); Ken Kercheval (Aron Trask); James Coco (Lee); Casper Roos (Will Hamilton); Bette Henritze (Mrs. Bacon); Dena Dietrich (Mrs. Tripp); Patricia Kelly (Mrs. Heink), Heather MacRae (Gordon MacRae's real life daughter played Abra Bacon), Lee Wilson (Schoolchild), Todd Miller (Schoolchild), Barbara Webb (Miss Ida), Scott Jarvis (Rabbit Holman), Graciela Daniele (Faith), Aniko Morgan (Eva), Dorothy Lister (Della), Nancy Wickwire (Kate), Joseph Nelson (Joe), Jetta Cherry (Juana), Taylor Reed (Newspaper Man), Darrell Askey (Briish Purchasing Agent), Townspeople, Mexican Field Workers, Denizens of Castroville Street: Darrell Askey, Jetta Cherry, Graciela Daniele, Elisa De Marko, Larry Devon, John Dickerson, Bud Fleming, John William Gardner, Gene Gavin, John Johann, Ray Kirchner, Jane Laughlin, Dorothy Lister, Andy Love, Richard Marr, David McCorkle, Joyce McDonald, Tod Miller, Aniko Morgan, Joan Nelson, Joseph Nelson, Donald Norris, Taylor Reed, Clifford Scott, Joy Serio, Michele Simmons, David Thomas, Barbara Webb, Lee Wilson. The musical was present in two acts. The action takes place in Salinas, California, in 1915-1917. Musical Numbers, Act One: "We Are What We Are" (Paul Rogers as Adam, Walter McGinn as Cal, James Coco as Lee, Ken Kercheval as Aron); "Cal Gets By" (Walter McGinn); "Raising Cain" (Walter McGinn, Ensemble); "Soft is the Sparrow" (Ken Kercheval as Aron); "Where Have I Been?" (Paul Rogers as Adam, James Coco as Lee, ensemble as Townspeople), "No Time" (aka "No Time is a Good Good-Bye Time") (Walter McGinn as Cal, Ken Kercheval as Aron); "Progress" (Male Ensemble); "Good Boy" (Walter McGinn as Cal); Ballet (known as the "Lettuce Harvest Ballet") (Walter McGinn as Cal, Joetta Cherry as Juana, Heather MacRae as Abra). Act Two: "Pulverize the Kaiser" (Bette Henritze as Mrs. Bacon, Dena Dietrich as Mrs. Tripp, Patricia Kelly as Mrs. Heink, ensemble as Townspeople); "Where Have I Been?" (Reprise, Paul Rogers as Adam); "Good Boy" (Reprise, Walter McGinn as Cal); "You're Momma's" (Nancy Wickwire as Kate); "Here's Where I Belong" (Walter McGinn as Cal, Heather MacRae as Abra); "We're a Home" (Paul Rogers as Adam, James Coco as Lee, Ken Kercheval as Aron, Heather MacRae as Abra, Walter McGinn as Cal). Ming Cho Lee's Scenic Design for the stage musical's scenic color palette dictated the scenery to be painted in shades of gray. The musical was a flop - with only one flop performance. Clive Barnes, in his review in The New York Times, questioned whether the book (East of Eden) could be a viable musical as it was "too serious", but praised the sets by Ming Cho Lee and wrote that Paul Rogers had a "stong singing voice" and was dignified. The James Dean curse seemed to follow Walter McGinn (b.July 6, 1936 - d.March 31, 1977, age 40) who died early in his life because of a fatal Los Angeles car accident. McGinn was killed on Interstate #210 when in an attempt to avoid an obstacle, his car skidded and plunged down an embankment, hitting a parked truck.
"The Full Monty" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 2002 Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Touring Production.
He was awarded the 1988 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Writing for "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
His play, "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1988 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Production Award.
He was awarded the 1990 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Writing for "The Lisbon Traviata" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
His play, "The Lisbon Traviata" at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1990 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Production.
His play,"Master Class" in a Gordon Davidson/Mark Taper Forum production at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1995 Drama Logue Award for Outstanding Production.
His play, "Master Class" in a Gordon Davidson/Mark Taper Forum production at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1995 Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Play.
Personal Quotes (1)
[re turning plays into movies] Get the best director you can who really shares your viewpoint, and really fight hard for the actors you want. With "The Ritz," I had some enticing offers to do it with some stars and more famous directors, but I never have regretted that decision [to keep most of the original Broadway cast]. What I liked most about my first two movies is that they preserved great performances. If you care about the final result, sometimes you have to be prepared to walk away from a deal.