Dick Scanlan

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Dick Scanlan (born 1960) is an American writer, director, and actor.


Scanlan was born on April 14, 1960 in Washington D.C. and grew up in suburban Maryland.



Scanlan has written articles that have appeared in The New York Times "Arts & Leisure" section, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and Playboy.[1]

His short stories have been published in many magazines and are included in Best American Gay Fiction (1996).

His critically acclaimed novel Does Freddy Dance was published in 1995.[1]


He is an accomplished actor, best known for his portrayal of Miss Great Plains in the 1991 musical Pageant.[1][2]

He is the co-book writer (with Richard Morris) and lyricist of the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, which premiered on Broadway in 2002, with music by Jeanine Tesori and starring a then unknown Sutton Foster.[3] Millie won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Musical. Scanlan and Tesori also wrote the song "The Girl in 14G" for Kristin Chenoweth's debut CD, Let Yourself Go.

He is the co-writer, with Sherie Rene Scott, of the musical Everyday Rapture, which opened Off-Broadway in May 2009 and again on Broadway on April 29, 2010.[4] He and Scott also co-wrote Whorl Inside a Loop, inspired by their experiences teaching inside a men's correctional facility. Whorl was produced Off-Broadway in 2015, co-directed by Scanlan and Michael Mayer (Scanlan's best friend for 40 years)[5][6] and was named one of the best plays of the year by New York Magazine.

In 2011, it was announced that Scanlan is reworking the 1960 Meredith Willson musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown to change the fanciful non-fiction plot (originally written by Richard Morris) to a more factual one. The show received its world premiere at the Denver Center Theatre Company in 2014, starring Beth Malone and directed by Kathleen Marshall.[7]

Scanlan was the script consultant to Berry Gordy for Motown: The Musical on Broadway in 2013. In 2015 he was the Artistic Advisor for a new musical, Invisible Thread, at Second Stage Theatre, directed by Diane Paulus.[8]

In 2015, Scanlan directed the staged concert of Little Shop of Horrors at the New York City Center as part of their Encores! Off-Center Series, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Taran Killam and Ellen Greene reprising her signature role of Audrey.[9]

The Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater New Works Program announced in 2014 that Scanlan and composer Josh Schmidt have been commissioned to write Fallingwater, an opera based on the family for which Frank Lloyd Wright designed his most famous building.


Scanlan lives in New York City with Alan Effron, his partner[10] since 1996.

He is the co-founder of artsINSIDEOUT, a group of students and established professionals in the performing arts that works with the young people and mothers at Nkosi’s Haven, a home in Johannesburg, South Africa for mothers with HIV/AIDS, their children and other children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Scanlan has been HIV-positive[10] since 1983, and was diagnosed with AIDS in 1995. He said: "I never want to imply that I lived because I have a stronger life drive than the people who died. I've lost so many people who I knew to be passionate and committed to their lives." Scanlan emphatically credits his rebound to the anti-HIV drug cocktail, but says, "It is absolutely true that your outlook contributes to your longevity. I chose to keep investing in my future — even when I had no future."



  1. ^ a b c "About Dick Scanlan" masterworksbroadway.com, accessed February 4, 2010
  2. ^ 'Pageant' Off-Broadway listing Archived 2007-09-09 at the Wayback Machine lortel.org, accessed February 4, 2010
  3. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review:'Thoroughly Modern Millie' " curtainup.com, April 23, 2002
  4. ^ "Sherie Blossom Time" Archived 2010-11-28 at the Wayback Machine tdf.org, accessed February 4, 2010
  5. ^ Clement, Olivia. "The Verdict: Critics Review Sherie Rene Scott's Prison Drama 'Whorl Inside a Loop'" playbill.com, August 28, 2015
  6. ^ Soloski, Alexis. "In 'Whorld Inside a Loop,' Prisoners' Fingerprints in Tales of Inmate Lives" nytimes.com, August 6, 2015
  7. ^ David, Cara Joy. "Theater. A New Crew Salvages Old Molly Brown" New York Times, September 17, 2014
  8. ^ Wright, Charles. "A CurtainUp Review. 'Invisible Thread'" curtainup.com, December 3, 2015
  9. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Review: Jake Gyllenhaal sings in 'Little Shop of Horrors'" nytimes.com, July 2, 2015
  10. ^ a b O'Leary, Kevin. "Divinely Driven Dick" poz.com, May 2002

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