Broadway playwright Terrence McNally dies of coronavirus complications

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Tony award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, known for plays like “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and for musical version of “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” died on Tuesday of complications related to the coronavirus, his representative said.

FILE PHOTO: Playwright Terrence McNally arrives for the American Theatre Wing’s 68th annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, June 8, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Matt Polk said McNally, 81, died in a hospital in Florida. The Broadway theater veteran was a lung cancer survivor and had lived with a chronic respiratory condition.

McNally’s career spanned six decades, encompassing plays, musicals and operas. It ranged from AIDS dramas “Lips Together, Teeth Apart,” to domestic drama “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” and the stage musical adaptation of movie “The Full Monty.”

He was given a lifetime achievement award at the 2019 Tony Awards ceremony in New York, adding to the four he received for “Love! Valour! Compassion,” “Master Class” and the books of the musical versions of “Ragtime” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

McNally is survived by his husband, producer Tom Kirdahy.

Tributes poured in from the theater world on Tuesday.

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda said on Twitter he was heartbroken, calling McNally “a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly.”

Former “Rent” star Anthony Rapp called him “a vital voice in American theater, especially effective at lifting up and amplifying the American LGBTQ experience.”

Peter Marks, theater critic at the Washington Post, tweeted; “This virus is taking great people away. Terrence McNally was a master with class.”

Broadway theaters have been shut since March 12 because of restrictions aimed at preventing the spread or coronavirus.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Dan Grebler

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