A Huge Loss

Award-Winning Playwright Terrence McNally Dies from Coronavirus Complications

The five-time Tony winner, a part-time Sarasota resident, died Tuesday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

By Kay Kipling March 24, 2020

Terrence McNally

Image: Shutterstock

Playwright Terrence McNally, a five-time Tony recipient for such works as Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Master Class and The Ritz, and a part-time Sarasota resident, has died from coronavirus complications at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

McNally, 81, and his husband, Tom Kirdahy (himself a Broadway producer as well as a public interest attorney) had a home here, and several of McNally's plays, including Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and Lips Together, Teeth Apart, have been produced by Asolo Repertory Theatre as well as at other theaters in the area.

The Hollywood Reporter said it received the news from McNally's publicist, Matt Polk. McNally had battled lung cancer since the late 1990s, and the illness  left him with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

While McNally shied away from the label of being a "gay playwright," his best-known works often relate to the experiences and struggles of gay people, and both his professional and his personal lives were impacted by the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s.

Now he has been lost to another epidemic—a sad loss for the theater world and those who knew him.

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