Background and education
Margulies attended John Dewey High School in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Purchase College where he received a BFA in visual arts. Margulies lives with his wife, Lynn Street, a physician, and their son, Miles, in New Haven, Connecticut, where he is a professor of English and Theatre Studies at Yale University.
Margulies' notable works include Time Stands Still (2009); Shipwrecked! An Entertainment — The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (As Told by Himself) (2007), Brooklyn Boy (2004), Sight Unseen (1991) and Collected Stories (1996), the last three of which were commissioned and originally produced by South Coast Repertory. Sight Unseen (which won a 1992 Obie Award for Best American Play and the Dramatists' Guild/Hull-Warriner Award) and Collected Stories were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, in 1992 and 1997, respectively.
Dinner With Friends, which received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, was commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville (Kentucky), where it had its world premiere at the 1998 Humana Festival of New American Plays. It was produced later that year at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California, and opened November 4, 1999, at the Variety Arts Theatre in New York, where it played 654 performances. In addition to the Pulitzer, Dinner with Friends received an American Theatre Critics' Association New Play Citation, The Dramatists' Guild/Hull-Warriner Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play, the Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama Desk Award nomination, and was selected a Burns Mantle Best Play of 1999-2000. It went on to have a long run in Paris at the Comedie des Champs-Élysées, and productions in cities all over the world including London, Berlin, Vienna, Stockholm, Tokyo, Mumbai, Seoul, Tel Aviv and Istanbul. In 2001 it was an Emmy Award-nominated film for HBO.
Time Stands Still opened on Broadway on January 28, 2010, at the Manhattan Theatre Club's Friedman Theatre for a limited engagement. It resumed performances on September 23, 2010, at the Cort Theatre, where it ran until January 30, 2011; between its two runs, it played a total of 24 previews and 194 performances. It starred Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James, Eric Bogosian and Alicia Silverstone (later succeeded at the Cort by Christina Ricci), and was directed by Daniel Sullivan. The play was nominated for a 2010 Tony Award for Best Play and was selected a Burns Mantle Best Play of 2009-2010. Linney was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. In 2009, Time Stands Still had its world premiere at the Geffen Playhouse (Los Angeles), which had commissioned it. Directed by Sullivan, the Geffen premiere featured Silverstone, Anna Gunn, David Harbour and Robin Thomas. Its foreign premiere took place in Stockholm in 2009, and productions are planned in many cities across the country and around the world.
After its world premiere in the 2007 Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory where it starred Gregory Itzin and was directed by Bart DeLorenzo, Shipwrecked! An Entertainment went on to productions at the Geffen Playhouse (where it again was directed by DeLorenzo and starred Itzin), Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven (directed by Evan Cabnet); Primary Stages in New York (directed by Lisa Peterson; both featuring Michael Countryman); and in theaters all over the United States. It received an Outer Critics' Circle Award nomination for Outstanding New Play in 2009.
Brooklyn Boy also began life at the Pacific Playwrights Festival, in 2003, and was produced at South Coast Repertory, on Broadway by Manhattan Theatre Club at the Biltmore Theatre, and in Paris at the Comedie des Champs-Élysées. It was an American Theatre Critics' Association New Play Award finalist, an Outer Critics' Circle nominee, and a Burns Mantle Best Play of 2004-2005. The play was directed by Daniel Sullivan, and its original cast was Adam Arkin, Arye Gross, Allan Miller, Ari Graynor, Mimi Lieber, Kevin Isola and Dana Reeve (whose role was played on Broadway by Polly Draper).
Sight Unseen was given its New York premiere by Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center II on January 27, 1992; it later moved to the Orpheum Theatre where it ran for a combined total of 293 performances. It was directed by Michael Bloom and starred Dennis Boutsikaris, Deborah Hedwall, Jon DeVries and, in the supporting role of a German art critic, Laura Linney. In 2005, Linney played the female lead in the play's Broadway premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club's Biltmore Theatre, with Ben Shenkman, Byron Jennings and Ana Reeder, directed by Sullivan. Linney received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance.
Collected Stories has had three New York productions: its premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club's City Center Stage I, in 1997, with Maria Tucci and Debra Messing, directed by Lisa Peterson; the following year at the Lucille Lortel Theatre with Uta Hagen and Lorca Simons, directed by William Carden; and on Broadway in 2010 at Manhattan Theatre Club's Friedman (formerly Biltmore) Theatre, starring Linda Lavin and Sarah Paulson, directed by Lynne Meadow. Lavin received a 2010 Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play for her performance. She had previously played the role of Ruth Steiner in 1999 at the Geffen Playhouse in a production co-starring Samantha Mathis, directed by Gilbert Cates, which was later re-produced for PBS Hollywood Presents in 2002. The play has had dozens of productions all over the country and around the world, perhaps most notably in London in 1999, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, with Helen Mirren and Anne-Marie Duff, directed by Howard Davies.
The Model Apartment premiered at Los Angeles Theatre Center in 1988 (directed by Roberta Levitow) but wasn't produced in New York until 1995, by Primary Stages, directed by Lisa Peterson. Margulies won the OBIE Award for Playwriting, and the play was a Dramatists' Guild/Hull-Warriner Award finalist and a Drama Desk nominee. A revival premiered during Primary Stages 2013-2014 season where is was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Play, and two Lucille Lortel Awards.
The Loman Family Picnic was first produced by Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center Stage II in 1989, with Marcia Jean Kurtz and Larry Block, directed by Barnet Kellman. MTC revived it on Stage I in 1993, with Christine Baranski and Peter Friedman, directed by Lynne Meadow. It was a Drama Desk nominee and a Burns Mantle Best Play of 1988-1989.
What's Wrong With This Picture? was first produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in 1985, by Jewish Repertory Theatre [New York] in 1990, and at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway in 1994.
Other plays include God of Vengeance, based on the Yiddish classic by Sholem Asch, which premiered at ACT Theatre (Seattle) in 2000, and in 2002 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, in productions directed by Gordon Edelstein; Two Days (Long Wharf Theatre); Broken Sleep: Three Plays (Williamstown Theatre Festival); July 7, 1994 (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Found a Peanut (Joseph Papp/New York Shakespeare Festival); Pitching to the Star (West Bank Café); Resting Place (Theater for the New City); Gifted Children and Zimmer (Jewish Repertory Theatre). In 1982, Luna Park, a one-act play inspired by the short story "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities" by Delmore Schwartz and produced by Jewish Rep, was his New York debut as playwright.
Film and television
Grants and awards
Margulies has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He was the recipient of the 2000 Sidney Kingsley Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre by a playwright. In 2005 he was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters with an Award in Literature and by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture with its Award in Literary Arts. Margulies is an alumnus of New Dramatists and serves on the council of the Dramatists Guild of America.
- 2005 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature
- 2005 National Foundation for Jewish Culture Award in Literary Arts
- 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
- 2000 Sidney Kingsley Award Outstanding Achievement in the Theatre by a Playwright
- 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
- Found a Peanut
- The Loman Family Picnic
- The Model Apartment
- Sight Unseen, 1991
- What's Wrong with This Picture?
- Shipwrecked! An Entertainment
- Luna Park
- July 7, 1994
- Pitching to the Star
- God of Vengeance
- Dinner with Friends, 1998
- Collected Stories, 1996
- Brooklyn Boy
- Time Stands Still, 2009
English Department (2008). "Donald Margulies: Adjunct Professor of English". Yale University. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- Donald Margulies at the Internet Broadway Database
- Donald Margulies at the Internet Movie Database
- Donald Margulies at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Program from the world premiere of Shipwrecked! at South Coast Repertory
- Program from the world premiere of Brooklyn Boy at South Coast Repertory
- Donald Margulies - Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Wing.org