||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2012)|
Uhry in 2013
|Born||Alfred Fox Uhry
December 3, 1936
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
|Magnum opus||Driving Miss Daisy
The Last Night of Ballyhoo
|Works with||Robert Waldman|
|Awards||Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1988)|
Alfred Fox Uhry (born December 3, 1936) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He is one of very few writers to receive an Academy Award, Tony Award (2) and the Pulitzer Prize for dramatic writing.
Uhry was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Ralph K., a furniture designer and artist, and Alene Fox, a social worker, married as Uhry. He was born into a Jewish family. Uhry graduated from Druid Hills High School in 1954 and subsequently graduated from Brown University where he wrote two original musicals with Brownbrokers. Druid Hills High School's Uhry Theater is named in honor of Uhry. During his first years in New York City, learning the craft of lyric-writing, Uhry received a stipend from Frank Loesser; after his eventual success, Uhry often praised Loesser's generosity and encouragement. Uhry is married to Joanna Kellogg. They have four daughters and live in New York.
Uhry's early work for the stage was as a lyricist and librettist for a number of commercially unsuccessful musicals, including America's Sweetheart and a revival of Little Johnny Jones starring Donny Osmond. His first collaboration with Robert Waldman was the disastrous 1968 musical Here's Where I Belong, which closed after one performance. They had considerably better success with The Robber Bridegroom, which was mounted on Broadway in both 1975 and 1976, enjoyed a year-long national tour, and garnered Uhry his first Tony nomination.
Driving Miss Daisy (1987) is the first in what is known as his "Atlanta Trilogy" of plays, all set during the first half of the 20th century. Produced off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, the play earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It deals with the relationship between an elderly Jewish woman and her black chauffeur. He adapted it into the screenplay for a 1989 film starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman, an adaptation which was awarded the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay.
The second of the trilogy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo (1996), is set in 1939 during the premiere of the film Gone with the Wind. It deals with a Jewish family during an important social event. It was commissioned for the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta which coincided with the 1996 Summer Olympics, and received the Tony Award for Best Play when produced on Broadway.
The third was a 1998 musical called Parade, about the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank. The libretto earned him a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. The music was written by Jason Robert Brown.
In 2006 Manhattan Theatre Club announced that it would produce Uhry's musical LoveMusik on Broadway in 2007. His libretto depicts the relationship between composer Kurt Weill and his wife, Lotte Lenya, using Weill's music.
His next screenplay is for a film announced in 2009, From Swastika to Jim Crow, a dramatization of a documentary about Jewish professors who flee Nazi Germany, find posts in the Southern US, and identify with their African-American students and their struggle under Jim Crow.
- Alfred Uhry at the Internet Broadway Database
- Alfred Uhry at the Internet Movie Database
- Alfred Uhry at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Works by or about Alfred Uhry in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Alfred Uhry collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Profile at the Fellowship of Southern Writers
- Interviewed by Paul Rudd for BOMB Magazine