April 30, 1951 |
Born on April 30, 1951, he was found abandoned in a car in Atlanta, Georgia. Lucas was adopted when he was eight months old by a conservative Pennsylvania couple. His father was an FBI agent; his mother was a housewife and painter. She was born a Jew but suppressed the identity which Lucas relates in his storytelling. He graduated in 1969 from Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. In the 1960s and 1970s, Lucas became interested in the political left and discovered an attraction towards men. He is openly gay, and recalls that his coming out made it possible for him to develop as a playwright and as a person.
In 1973, Lucas left Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and creative writing. His mentor, Anne Sexton, urged him to try his luck in New York City as a playwright. He worked in many day jobs while performing in Broadway musicals including Shenandoah, On the Twentieth Century, Rex, and Sweeney Todd. Stephen Sondheim would later tell him he was a better writer than an actor.
Lucas met Norman René in 1979. Their first collaboration was Marry Me A Little in 1981. The two wrote a script incorporating songs that had been written for but discarded from Stephen Sondheim musicals, and René also directed. They followed this with the plays Missing Persons (1981) and Blue Window (1984); Three Postcards (1987), an original music by Lucas and Craig Carnelia; and another play, Reckless (1983). In 1990 they joined forces for what would prove to be their biggest commercial and critical success, Prelude to a Kiss. They also joined forces for the feature film Longtime Companion (1990), the 1992 film adaptation of Prelude with Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan, and the 1995 film version of Reckless with Mia Farrow and Mary-Louise Parker.
Following his early work on romantic comedies, Lucas began to write more serious works about AIDS, including The Singing Forest (not to be confused with the film of the same name) and The Dying Gaul, the latter of which was made into a film that Lucas also directed. Lucas also authored the book for the musical The Light in the Piazza, and directed the world premiere at the Intiman Theater in Seattle. The Lincoln Center production, directed by Bartlett Sher, garnered him a Tony Award nomination.
Lucas has also directed classic plays such as Loot. While some critics have divided his work into gay plays (Blue Window, Longtime Companion) and straight plays (Reckless, Three Postcards, Prelude to a Kiss), Lucas has always written about human problems in a universal manner. He directed Birds of America, a film starring Matthew Perry and Hilary Swank, in 2007.
Lucas's play Prayer for My Enemy premiered Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in December 2008. The production was directed by Lucas's frequent collaborator Bartlett Sher and featured Tony Award winners Victoria Clark and Michele Pawk and Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff. The play touches on several topics including the Iraq War, with Groff playing a young veteran, as well as homosexuality, alcoholism, and the definition of family. The play ran from November 14 (previews) through December 21.
In September 2015, Berkeley Repertory Theatre hosts the world premiere of Amélie, a musical based on the award-winning film of 2001, with book by Lucas, music by Daniel Messé (see his band, Hem}, and lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Messé. Director is Pam MacKinnon.
In 2001 Lucas received an OBIE Award for his direction of Harry Kondoleon’s Saved or Destroyed at the Rattlestick Theater. He won the 2003 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay for The Secret Lives of Dentists. His Small Tragedy was awarded an Obie as Best American Play in 2004. Lucas's other awards include the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the PEN/Laura Pels Mid-Career Achievement Award; and Outer Critics Circle, L.A. Drama Critics Circle, Drama-Logue and Lambda Literary Awards.
He has also received a Tony Award nomination (for the book of Light in the Piazza). Fellowships include those from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Perhaps most notably, he was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his plays Prelude to a Kiss and The Dying Gaul.
As an actor
- Shenandoah (1975) - musical - actor
- Rex (1976) - musical - actor
- On the Twentieth Century (1978) - musical - actor
- Sweeney Todd (1979) - musical - actor
As a playwright
- Prelude to a Kiss (1990) - play - Pulitzer Prize for Drama Nomination, Tony Award Nomination for Best Play, Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding New Play
- God's Heart (1997) - play
- Reckless (2004) - play
- The Light in the Piazza (2005) - musical - bookwriter - Tony Nomination for Best Book of a Musical
- Prelude to a Kiss (2007) - revival of a play
- Amélie (2015) - musical - bookwriter
- Missing Persons (1981), revised (1995) - two-act play - produced Off-Off-Broadway, at Production Company
- Alec Wilder: Clues to a Life (adapted from Alec Wilder's Letters I Never Mailed) (1982) - two-act play
- Reckless (1983), revised (1988) - two-act play
- Blue Window (1984) - one-act play
- Credo (1995) -
- The Dying Gaul (1998) - play
- Stranger (2000) - play (Vineyard Theatre)
- This Thing Of Darkness (2002) - play - (with David Schulner)
- Small Tragedy (2004) - play
- Miss Julie adaptation originally written by August Strindberg (2005), at the Rattlesticks Playwrights Theater
- Blue Window (1984) - play - George and Elizabeth Marton Award for Best New Play of 1984
- Three Postcards (1987) - musical - Premiered at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California
- Marry Me A Little (1988) - musical revue - Songs by Stephen Sondheim, conceived and developed by Craig Lucas and Norman René
- Prelude to a Kiss (1988) - play - Commissioned and premiered by South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California
- God's Heart (1995) - play - produced at Trinity Repertory Company
- The Singing Forest (2004) - play - Premiered at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, Washington.
- Prayer For My Enemy (2007) - play - Premiered at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, Washington.
- Longtime Companion (1990) - screenwriter
- Prelude to a Kiss (1992) - screenwriter
- Reckless (1995) - screenwriter
- The Secret Lives of Dentists (2002) - screenwriter
- The Dying Gaul (2005) - screenwriter/director
- Birds of America (2008) - director
- Savage Light, a play (with David Schulner) that was supposed to premiere at the Humana Festival of New American Plays, was deemed too "sexually explicit to stage".
- Gener, Randy (November 23, 2011). "Rachel in Wonderland: Interview with playwright Craig Lucas on "Reckless" as a hallucinatory Christmas fable". Culture of One World (originally commissioned for Applause). Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- Esther, John (2005). The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. Boston, Massachusetts: Gay & Lesbian Review, Inc. ISSN 1532-1118.
- Jones, Kenneth. "Craig Lucas' 'Prayer for My Enemy', With Tony Winners Pawk and Clark, Opens in NYC" playbill.com, December 9, 2008
- "King Kong - Craig Lucas". http://kingkongliveonstage.com. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- Trueman, Matt (October 20, 2011). "King Kong musical to open in Melbourne before hitting New York". London: http://www.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- "King Kong". http://www.visitvictoria.com. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- Biography at Playbill Online
- Biography from the Intiman Theatre website
- Biography at the Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Queer Culture.
- Cast Out: Queer Lives in Theater (U. Michigan Press, edited by Robin Bernstein) contains Lucas's essay "Making a Fresh Start."
- Playwrights Horizon
- Craig Lucas at the Internet Movie Database
- Craig Lucas at the Internet Broadway Database
- Craig Lucas at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Craig Lucas - Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Wing.org