Tarell Alvin McCraney
Tarell Alvin McCraney is best known for the Oscar winning film MOONLIGHT (Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay), which was based on his script IN MOONLIGHT BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE.
For Theatre, his trilogy, THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS, which consists of THE BROTHERS SIZE, IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER, and MARCUS; OR THE SECRET OF SWEET has been widely performed. Other plays include his edit of ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA (which he also directed at the RSC, Public Theater NY and GableStage Miami), HEAD OF PASSES, CHOIR BOY, Without/Sin, Run, Mourner, Run (adapted from Randall Kenan's short story), THE Breach, (written with Catherine Filloux, and Joe Sutton) and WIG OUT!
Among MOONLIGHT’s many other honors, the film has won a Golden Globe for Best Drama, Gotham Award for Best Feature, NAACP Image Award for Best Independent Film, WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Human Rights Campaign’s Visionary Arts Award, and 6 Independent Spirit Awards including Best Picture and Best Screenplay.
Tarell is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, the Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award, the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Windham Campbell Award, and a Doris Duke Artist Award. He was the International Writer-in-Residence for the RSC from 2008-2010, and a former resident playwright at New Dramatists. He is an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects in Miami.
Tarell is a graduate from the New World School of the Arts, the Theatre School at DePaul University, and the Yale School of Drama. He also has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick. As Professor of Theatre and Civic Engagement at University of Miami, he created a three-year program in partnership with UM, Miami-Dade County and the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center. He was recently named the new Chairman of the Playwriting Department at the Yale School of Drama, as well as Playwright in Residence at Yale Repertory Theater.
THE BROTHERS SIZE by Tarell Alvin McCraney opens at the Young Vic Theatre
THE BROTHERS SIZE, by Tarell Alvin McCraney opened on Friday 26th January at the Young Vic Theatre. This is the 3rd time this production has been presented at the Young Vic, and is directed by Bijan Sheibani in a co-production with the Actor’s Touring Company.
The Guardian ★★★★★
“a production as magical and mysterious as its Yoruba mythology-soaked script”
“McCraney’s 90-minute script for his story, part-parable, about reunion and separation, fizzes and snaps… the language treads the lines between poetry and prose, comedy and drama.”
The Financial Times ★★★★★
“a joyous example of theatre at its most simple and evocative”
“taut, compassionate fable of fraternal love”
“writing so taut and intense that it picks you up at the beginning and doesn't let you down until its end”
“It's a haunting, poetic and beautiful piece which speaks universally about oppression, love, family and freedom.”
“His writing is ritualistic, oozing with culture, and contains within it an absolute truth. Is it verse? Is it prose? I'm not sure, however its curious composition is nothing short of satisfying.”
“Feeling constantly alive… joyful, harrowing and humorous. It's a story of connection and co-dependency… a thrilling theatrical experience.”
The Times ★★★★
“this one-of-a-kind debut makes a bewitching return”
“Oh, though, the feeling for kinship in the writing; for the need to be free and the need to be anchored.”
The Independent ★★★★
"incredibly stylish and wonderful to watch"
"a fine example of ability to put the best young talent centre stage"
Time Out ★★★★
“McCraney’s spare, ritual-tinged play, the emotions feel huge: operatic, primal, enormous.”
“It is a play about black manhood, seuxality, racism, the US justice system, and the ties that bind. And it’s channelled through an immaculately stylised aesthetic – McCraney’s vision – which mixes Yoruba-inspired movement and Brechtian deconstruction to create something strikingly reminiscent of Greek tragedy at its most visceral.”
The Evening Standard ★★★★
“combines urgently rhythmic dialogue with the lingering strangeness of a dream.”
“McCraney writes sensitively about the rituals of male friendship and the lasting stigma of incarceration.”
The Stage ★★★★
“This returning production allows for a renewed appreciation of the richness of his writing and the elegant economy of his storytelling”
“tenderness flows through McCraney’s play. It’s a wonderfully warm piece of writing, full to the brim with love and the pain that comes with love, brotherly love and love between brothers.”
Tarell Alvin McCraney's CHOIR BOY comes to Broadway
Tarell Alvin McCraney’s CHOIR BOY will feature in Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2018-19 Broadway Season. CHOIR BOY will be directed by Trip Cullman and represents Tarell’s Broadway debut. It opens December 27th, ahead of a January 22nd Press Night.
The debut production was directed by Dominic Cooke at the Royal Court Theatre in 2012, and then transferred to the Manhattan Theatre Club Studio in 2013.
CHOUR BOY centres on the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys, which for a half a century has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men. One talented student has been waiting for years to take his rightful place as the leader of the school's legendary gospel choir. But can he make his way through the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?
Cast Announcement for THE BROTHERS SIZE by Tarell Alvin McCraney
We are delighted to share such a wonderful cast announced today for Tarell Alvin McCraney’s THE BROTHERS SIZE, which returns to the Young Vic in 2018.
After playing Coriolanus at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Sope Dirisu plays eldest brother Ogun. Jonathan Ajayi plays younger brother Oshoosi, reunited with Ogun after a spell in prison. Both make their Young Vic debuts.
Finally, Anthony Welsh returns to the role of Elegba, Oshoosi’s ex-cell mate who tempts him back to his life of crime. Anthony originally performed this role during the 2008 revival of The Brothers Size at the Young Vic and UK tour in the same year.
It is directed by Bijan Sheibani, designed by Patrick Burnier with live music and sound design by Manuel Pinheiro. A co-production with Actors Touring Company.
It runs from 19 January 2018 – 14 February 2018 in the Young Vic’s Main House.
Sope Dirisu makes his Young Vic debut in The Brothers Size.
Theatre includes: Coriolanus, Pericles (RSC); One Night In Miami (Donmar); The Whipping Man (Theatre Royal Plymouth); Tory Boyz, Romeo and Juliet (West End for National Youth Theatre) and Prince Of Denmark, Our Days Of Rage, Tory Boyz(National Youth Theatre).
Television includes: Next of Kin, Five By Five, The Halcyon, Black Mirror, Undercover, Siblings, Humans, The Casual Vacancy, The Mill and Utopia.
Film includes: Sand Castle, The Huntsman: Winter’s War and Criminal
Jonathan Ajayi makes his Young Vic debut in The Brothers Size.
Theatre includes: A Midsummer Nights Dream in New Orleans (The Arts Theatre), Sucker Punch, Port, Duchess of Malfi, A New Brain, Lady from the Sea (LAMDA).
Film includes: Hallelujah.
Anthony Welsh returns to the Young Vic after appearing dirty butterfly, Blackta and the original production of The Brothers Size in 2007.
Theatre includes: Barber Shop Chronicles, Nut (National Theatre); The Merchant of Venice (Almeida); Precious Little Talent, Lower Ninth (Trafalgar Studios); Sucker Punch (Royal Court); Pornography (Tricycle Theatre & Tour).
Television includes: Black Mirror: Crocodile, Fleabag, The Secrets, Life’s Too Short, Top Boy, Holby City and The Bill.
Film includes: The Arrival, Ibiza, Journeyman, Sand Castle, The Girl With All The Gifts, Second Coming, Starred Up, Dirty Money, My Brother The Devil and Comes A Bright Day.
MOONLIGHT wins 3 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay!
MOONLIGHT took home three academy awards last night including Best Picture.
Tarell Alvin McCraney and Barry Jenkins picked up an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor.
MLR playwright Tarell gave an acceptance speech after Barry Jenkins when picking up their award:
“Amen, brother. I just want to echo everything he just said, but I want to say thank God for my mother, who proved to me through her struggles and the struggles that Naomie Harris portrayed for you, that we can be somebody. Two boys from Liberty City up here representing 305. This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and nongender conforming who don't see themselves, we're trying to show you you, and us. Thank you, thank you. This is for you.”
Watch their full acceptance speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpS2xh5HY6E
See the full list of winners: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-38716725
MOONLIGHT also triumphed at the Film Independent Spirit Awards the night before, winning a record-breaking six awards: Best Picture, Director, Editing, Cinematography, Screenplay and the Robert Altman Award for the ensemble cast and casting director.
MOONLIGHT is released in UK cinemas!
MOONLIGHT is based Tarell Alvin McCraney's IN MOONLIGHT BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE. The film, written and directed by Barry Jenkins, is now nominated for eight Academy Awards and is showing in UK cinemas.
The Guardian ★★★★★
“It is the kind of film that leaves you feeling somehow mentally smarter and physically lighter.”
“moving and mysterious: a dance to the music of time, in its way.”
“The combination of artistry and emotional directness in this film is overwhelming.”
The Times ★★★★★
“Moonlight had no right to be this good.”
“Moonlight is a movie that sticks to kindness like a magnet. Everywhere it looks it sees bullying, abuse and aggression, and yet it chooses kindness and softness as its subject.”
“As it should, it all ends on ambiguity, and with the sense that we have just witnessed the work of a master movie-maker, a cast and crew at the top of their game, and a film for the ages.”
Evening Standard ★★★★★
“It is pure, even exquisite cinema.”
“a lush heightening of experience into beauty.”
“It is a form of poetry, this film, at once utterly specific and universal.”
“If that’s not worth an Oscar or two, there hasn’t been a film this year that has.”
Time Out ★★★★★
“exquisite coming-of-age drama”
“This film is, without a doubt, the reason we go to the movies.”
Interviews with Tarell -
Curzon Film Podcast
MOONLIGHT is nominated for 8 Oscars!
Barry Jenkins' ground-breaking film Moonlight, based on the story by Tarell Alvin McCraney, has been nominated for the following:
Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best supporting Actress (Naomie Harris)
Best Film Editing
Best Director (Barry Jenkins)
The 89th Academy Awards ceremony will honour the best films of 2016 and will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 26, 2017.
MOONLIGHT to be honoured at the HRC 2017 Gala
Barry Jenkins' groundbreaking film Moonlight, based on the story by Tarell Alvin McCraney will be honored at the 2017 Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Greater New York Gala on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Tarell will attend to accept the award.
“Moonlight has captured the hearts and minds of audiences across the country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The film triumphs in its portrayal of the struggles that many in this country face every day because of discriminatory barriers that still exist, especially if you’re young, African American, and LGBTQ. We are proud to recognize the brilliance of Moonlight with the HRC Visionary Arts Award and welcome playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney to accept the award.”
The Greater New York Gala is one of HRC’s most prestigious events of the year, attracting more than 1,000 of the organization’s most active leaders, supporters, and members. The event regularly draws political officials from federal, state, and local governments, as well as celebrity entertainers and leaders in the business community.
MOONLIGHT wins Golden Globe Award!
Based on a play by MLR’s Tarell Alvin McCraney, Barry Jenkins’ film MOONLIGHT wins a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, Drama.
The film received a standing ovation when it picked up the award last night.
See the full list of winners and more information here: http://www.goldenglobes.com/
Barry Jenkins discusses MOONLIGHT: http://www.goldenglobes.com/video/barry-jenkins
6 Golden Globe Nominations for MOONLIGHT!
MOONLIGHT, based on a play by MLR’s Tarell Alvin McCraney, has picked up 6 Golden Globe Award Nominations for:
- Best Motion Picture, Drama
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture, for Naomi Harris
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture, for Mahershala Ali
- Best Director, Motion Picture, for Barry Jenkins
- Best Screenplay, Motion Picture, for Barry Jenkins
- Best Original Score, Motion Picture, for Nicholas Britell
The film has also been named Best Picture by the DFWCritis Awards, Toronto Film critics, New York Film Critics Online Association, Boston Online Film Critics Association, the American Film Institute, among a host of other awards and nominations over the past couple of weeks.
Tarell Alvin McCraney to Head Playwriting Program at Yale!
Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney has been named the new chairman of the playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama.
The three-year appointment is effective on July 1. He will succeed Paula Vogel as playwright in residence at Yale Repertory Theater.
“We’ve seen the rise of more voices in theater and especially more voices that didn’t have access before,” ...“But those voices aren’t centered. Those voices are still somehow marginalized.” - Tarell.
Tarell earned his graduate degree from the Yale School of Drama in 2007.
More Awards for MOONLIGHT!
MOONLIGHT picked up a British Independent Film Award for Best International Independent Film last night:
The film, based on the play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, also won four Los Angeles Film Critics Awards in total, the most of any eligible 2016 film. In addition to winning Best Picture, Moonlight won Best Director for writer-director Barry Jenkins, Best Supporting Actor for co-star Mahershala Ali, and Best Cinematography for James Laxton’s work behind the camera.
Tarell talks to Vulture about his inspiration for the story behind the film, read the full article here: http://www.vulture.com/2016/11/tarell-alvin-mccraney-on-writing-moonlight.html
MOONLIGHT Wins 4 Gotham Awards!
Based on the play IN MOONLIGHT BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE by MLR playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Barry Jenkins’ powerful new film wins 4 Gotham Awards for Best Feature, Best Screenplay, the Special Jury Award For Ensemble Performance, and the Audience Award.
The Gotham Awards is one of the leading awards for independent film and signals the kick-off to the film awards season. The 26th Annual Awards took place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City last night.
Tarell Alvin McCraney is winner of the Knight Arts Challenge!
Tarell Alvin McCraney been designated a 2016 Knight Arts Champion for his work in theatre and filmmaking that help to develop the arts ecosystem in South Florida. $50,000 will be awarded to fund his new “305/One Festival”, which will celebrate "the unique storytelling and solo performers coming out of Miami with a series of performances, film screenings, and cultural activities."
The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching communities through the arts:
“Our goal is to make art general in Miami so that it can be seen, felt, and heard by every resident, no matter where they live, work, or play. These projects help get us closer to that ideal by bringing people together, connecting us to each other and our community,” Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation, said in a statement.
Tarell talks about what and who in South Florida influenced his work: https://vimeo.com/193041769
MOONLIGHT is nominated for a BIFA Award!
Based on the play IN MOONLIGHT BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE by MLR playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Barry Jenkins’ powerful new film is nominated for Best International Independent Film by the 2016 British Independent Film Awards.
The British Independent Film Awards were founded in 1998 to highlight and reward the best, most innovative and creative independent filmmaking and filmmakers in the UK.
The Awards will be announced on Sunday 4th December.
More info + full nomination list: https://www.bifa.film/awards/film/moonlight
MOONLIGHT Nominations - Gotham Independent Film Awards!
Based on the play IN MOONLIGHT BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE by MLR playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Barry Jenkins’ powerful new film receives Gotham Award Nominations for Best Feature and Best Screenplay.
The 2016 Best Actor/Best Actress and Breakthrough Actor nominating panels also voted to award a special Gotham Jury Award for ensemble performance to MOONLIGHT, “in which actors at all levels of experience give outstanding performances that speak eloquently to one another both within and across each chapter of the story.”
The Gotham Awards is one of the leading awards for independent film and signals the kick-off to the film awards season…
Read the NY Times review - ‘Moonlight’: Is This the Year’s Best Movie?’ http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/movies/moonlight-review.html?referer=https://t.co/pzSzIzr5tg&_r=0
MOONLIGHT at London Film Festival
Based on the play IN MOONLIGHT BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE by MLR playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Barry Jenkins’ powerful new film receives a wonderful response after the showing at London Film Festival last week.
The Times ★★★★★
“an elegiac, raw, painful film"
“displays an emotional intelligence that transcends all the expected clichés.”
The Telegraph ★★★★★
“a nuclear-fission-strength heartbreaker”
“slow-build emotional power is finally overwhelming”
“grace and compassion that shine out from its core.”
The Evening Standard ★★★★★
“Moonlight is mesmerically, sometimes swooningly, shot and scored, and well-acted all round too.”
The Hollywood News ★★★★★
“a flawless coming of age tale that could just be one of the best of the year.”
“engrosses from the off and will make you laugh and sob in equal measure. A story that it beautiful, relevant, necessary and heart-breaking, but at the same time massively fulfilling. Pure cinematic perfection.”
Smoke Screen London ★★★★★
“A heartbreaking, gorgeously crafted and highly relevant portrait of growing up without really being alive.”
BBC Culture ★★★★★
“is the kind of movie film festivals were made for”
“an exquisitely sensitive triptych about a gay black man's coming of age in Miami”
“a rich and profound character study”
“Bold in ambition and delicate in execution, it will break your heart and then piece it back together.”
“his journey of discovery, tinged with tragedy and ecstasy, with stunning lyricism and intimacy.”
“A stunning, faultless piece of LGBT cinema”
“truly inspiring and incandescent moments of brilliance that lift the heart and spur the viewer on.”
“one of the most incredibly told stories”
MOONLIGHT premieres at Telluride Film Festival
Based on the play IN MOONLIGHT BLACK BOYS LOOK BLUE by MLR playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, Barry Jenkins’ powerful new film receives a wonderful response after the premiere at the Telluride Film Festival.
The Guardian ★★★★★
“Moonlight is a profoundly moving film about growing up as a gay man in disguise, a difficult and damaging journey that’s realised with staggering care and delicacy and one that will resonate with anyone who has had to do the same. We’re starved of these narratives and Jenkins’ electrifying drama showcases why they are so hugely important, providing an audience with a rarely seen portrait of what it really means to be a black gay man in America today. It’s a stunning achievement.”
“a refreshing, exhilarating portrait of lives that are so rarely depicted on film.”
“a breathtaking film, one with political urgency and a deep, compassionate humanity. Moonlight is timely and timeless, a study in limits that casts its gaze up toward something transcendent.”
“a beautifully intimate character study that argues in no uncertain terms that the African-American identity is far too complex to be reduced to the flimsy stereotypes so often presented on-screen.”
Los Angeles Times
“There are people who don’t see themselves in arts and letters who want to see themselves, and yes, this is for them,” Jenkins said. “But I also want other people who do see themselves to see these people. This movie was made for anybody who has ever felt other, or like they can’t be themselves and be accepted in society."
“Barry Jenkins’ treatment of Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” is a beautiful drama that manages to be both epic and understated.”
McCraney's HEADS OF PASSES picks up two Lucille Lortel Awards!
Tarell Alvin McCraney’s latest show picked up two Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway – winners were announced yesterday.
Phylicia Rashad won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play, and Alana Arenas won Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, both for their incredible performances in McCraney’s HEADS OF PASSES at the Public Theatre this year.
Tarell Alvin McCraney’s HEADS OF PASSES opens at the Public Theater
Tarell Alvin McCraney returns to The Public with an astonishing, deeply moving new drama about family, acceptance and the power of faith, starring Phylicia Rashad in the lead role. Tina Landau directs this poetic and piercing new play, running until the 24th April.
Phylicia Rashad and designer G.W. Mercier are both nominated for Lucille Lortel Awards for HEADS OF PASSES.
New York Times
“what Mr. McCraney, the extravagantly gifted author of the “The Brother/Sister Plays,” is doing here is tearing down the warm and cozy house of feel-good African-American family portraits. That’s in both a symbolic and — thanks to a spectacularly self-destructing set by G. W. Mercier — a literal sense.”
“you’ll look back and marvel at how Mr. McCraney and this expert production team have set you up.”
Time Out ★★★★
“McCraney’s rich, flavorful dialogue rushes out compellingly from the persuasive cast”
“McCraney is a huge talent, and the play is certainly worth seeing.”
NJ Advance Media
“A tragic masterpiece”
“excellent performers who capture fully their rich, complex characters.”
“a play by a young and brilliant dramatist in the prime of his career”
New York Daily News
“McCraney’s dialogue is a potent blend of the plainspoken and poetic.”
DC Theatre Scene
“richly atmospheric production”
“illustrates one of the playwright’s gifts – a poetic heightening of credible everyday conversation”
“McCraney’s flights of poetry — he has a terrific ear for both the saltiness and aspiration of vernacular speech — are so fluently rendered by Rashad”
“tempting to call Shelah, the matriarch in “Head of Passes,” the role of a lifetime.”
“The playwright, raised in the Miami streets, trained at Yale and awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant, gets closer to the dialogue-rich style of his mentor August Wilson.”
“Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney is on the short list of great young talents that make it exciting to go to the theater... Each work is distinctive, animated by intelligence and hungry to tackle big issues.”
“the soulful realism and flavorful character detail of the enjoyable first act and the soaring soliloquy of the more challenging second.”
“With humor and a lively sense of personal history etched between the lines, McCraney draws Shelah's flinty interactions with those closest to her.”
“another adventurous work from McCraney, pondering serious theological questions pertaining to the eternal, unanswerable mysteries of random punishment.”
“McCraney's distinctive dialogue ensures that the drama remains absorbing”
“Tarell Alvin McCraney knows how to whip up a big dramatic scene and make it play on stage. He accomplishes it whether he’s writing for many actors, two actors, or just one.”
“McCraney delivers a blistering, ultimately heartbreaking face-off…McCraney writes that push-pull between these two women with precision and insight.”