Playwright Terrence McNally passes away at 81 from coronavirus complications

Terrence McNally was a man known by many for his groundbreaking pieces of theatre. Considered to be “the bard of American theatre” and “one of the greatest contemporary playwrights the theater world has yet produced,” he was renowned for tackling difficult and confronting issues in his writing. Most, if not all of his work focused around the need for human connection, and discussed the divide between race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.

McNally’s work was critically acclaimed, earning him 5 Tony Awards including a Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre (2019), 3 Drama Desk Awards, 2 Lucille Lortel Awards, an Emmy, and a Pulitzer Prize, to name a few.

His plays include Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class, and Deuce. He wrote the books for musicals such as Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Ragtime, Catch Me If You Can, and Anastasia.

McNally had previously battled lung cancer, and passed away this morning from Coronavirus-related complications.

Vale Terrence, and may you live on through your incredible work.


Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

One thought on “Playwright Terrence McNally passes away at 81 from coronavirus complications

  • Reading about the death of Terrence McNally really shocked me. Earlier this morning, and it’s only 10 0’clock now, I was reading the obituary of Zoe Caldwell and her career in theatre. it included the story that Terrence McNally wrote Master Class for her.

    We live in very scary times.

    Tom Keck


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