Meet “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” playwright Christopher Durang

Christopher Duran. Photo from lunerontheatre.wordpress.com

Christopher Durang’s plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical, 1978), The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award, 1981), Beyond Therapy (1982), Baby with the Bathwater (1983), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie Award, Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award, 1985), Laughing Wild (1987), Durang/Durang (an evening of six plays, including the Tennessee Williams’ parody, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, 1994), Sex and Longing (1996), Betty’s Summer Vacation (Obie Award, 1999), Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge (2002), the musical Adrift in Macao with Peter Melnick (2002), Miss Witherspoon (2005), Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (2009), and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2012).

Durang is also a performer, and acted with E. Katherine Kerr in the N.Y. premiere of Laughing Wild, and with Jean Smart in the L.A. production. He shared in an acting ensemble Obie for The Marriage of Bette and Boo; and with John Augustine and Sherry Anderson has performed his crackpot cabaret Chris Durang and Dawne at the Criterion Center, Caroline’s Comedy Club, Williamstown Summer Cabaret, and the Triad, winning a 1996 Bistro Award.

Chris Durang and Dawne. Photo from siegelpresents.com

In the early 1980s, 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 in the five person off-Broadway Sondheim revue, Putting It Together, with Julie Andrews at the Manhattan Theatre Club. And he played a singing Congressman in the Encores presentation of Call Me Madam with Tyne Daly at City Center. In movies, he has appeared in The Secret of My Success, Mr. North, The Butcher’s Wife, Housesitter, and The Cowboy Way, among others.

He has his B.A. from Harvard College, and an M.F.A. in Playwrighting from the Yale School of Drama. His numerous awards and fellowships include a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller, the CBS Playwrighting Fellowship, the Lecompte du Nouy Foundation grant, and the Kenyon Festival Theatre Playwrighting Prize. In 1995 he won the prestigious three-year Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers Award; as part of his grant, he ran a writing workshop for adult children of alcoholics. In 2000 he won the Sidney Kingsley Playwrighting Award. Since 1994 he has been co-chair with Marsha Norman of the Playwrighting Program at the Juilliard School in Manhattan.

Adam Versényi, Dramaturg

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will be performed at PlayMakers September 17, 2014 – October 5, 2014. For tickets, call 919.962.PLAY (7529).