Christopher Durang’s plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical), The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award, Off-Broadway run, 1981-83), Beyond Therapy (on Broadway in 1982, with Dianne Wiest and John Lithgow), Baby with the Bathwater (Playwrights Horizons, 1983), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Public Theater, 1985; Obie Award, Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award), Laughing Wild (Playwrights Horizons, 1987), and Durang Durang (an evening of six plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, 1994, including the Tennessee Williams parody For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls). In 1996, he was commissioned by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Foundation to write a new book for the popular musical Babes in Arms. Sex and Longing was commissioned by Lincoln Center Theater and was presented on Broadway in fall 1996 starring Sigourney Weaver. The Idiots Karamazov, a full-length play with music written with Albert Innaurato, was revived at the American Repertory Theatre. His play Betty’s Summer Vacation (Drama Desk Award nomination) had its world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in February 1999 to great critical acclaim and sold-out houses and was extended three times. It was the recipient of four Obie Awards, for distinguished playwriting, directing, acting, and set design. His new musical (with music by Peter Melnick), Adrift in Macao premiered at New York Stage and Film in the summer of 2002. Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge was commissioned by Pittsburgh’s City Theater and had its world premiere in November 2002.
In the early ’80s, he and Sigourney Weaver co-wrote and performed in their acclaimed Brecht-Weill parody Das Lusitania Songspiel and were both nominated for Drama Desk Awards for Best Performer in a Musical. In 1993, he sang and tried to dance in the five-person Off-Broadway Sondheim revue Putting it Together, with Julie Andrews at Manhattan Theatre Club. And he played a singing Congressman in Call Me Madam with Tyne Daly as part of “Encores.” He can be heard on cast recordings of both productions.
In movies, he has appeared in The Secret of my Success, Mr. North, The Butcher’s Wife, Housesitter, The Cowboy Way, The Object of my Affection, Simply Irresistible, and The Out of Towners, among others. For television, he wrote for a Carol Burnett special called “Carol and Robin and Whoopi and Carl;” and for PBS’ series “Trying Times,” he wrote a teleplay called “The Visit” starring Swoosie Kurtz as Wanda, the upsetting houseguest. He’s written several screenplays, including The House of Husbands (co-authored with Wendy Wasserstein), The Adventures of Lola for Tri-Star and director Herbert Ross, The Nun who Shot Liberty Valance, and his own adaptation of Sister Mary… which aired onShowtime with Diane Keaton in the title role; and two sitcom pilots, “Billy and Meg” (for Fox Television) and “Dysfunction! - the TV Show” for Warner Brothers. He hopes one day they will be produced, perhaps in heaven.
He has an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Early in his career, he won a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller, the CBS Playwriting Fellowship, the Lecompte du Nouy Foundation grant, and the Kenyon Festival Theatre Playwriting Prize. In 1995 he won the prestigious three-year Lila Wallace Readers Digest Award; as part of his grant, he ran a writing workshop for adult children of alcoholics. Since 1994 he has been co-chair with Marsha Norman of the Playwriting Program at the Juilliard School in Manhattan. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council