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Doug Wright

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Doug Wright
Born (1962-12-20) December 20, 1962 (age 61)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
OccupationPlaywright, librettist, screenwriter
EducationYale University (BA)
New York University (MFA)
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize for Drama (2004)
SpouseDavid Clement

Douglas Wright (born December 20, 1962)[1] is an American playwright, librettist, and screenwriter. Known for his extensive work in the American theatre in both plays and musicals he has received numerous accolades including the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award.

Wright first earned acclaim earning the Obie Award for Best Playwright for his darkly satirical play Quills (1995) about the final days of the French sadist and author Marquis de Sade. He later adapted it into the 2000 film of the same name earning a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. He went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in Broadway debut play I Am My Own Wife (2004).

Wright earned a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical nomination for Grey Gardens (2006) based on the 1975 documentary of the same name. He continued writing for musical theatre, adapting the books for the Broadway musicals The Little Mermaid (2007), Hands on a Hard Body (2012), and War Paint (2017). He returned to plays, authoring Posterity (2015), and Good Night, Oscar (2023) the later a Tony Award-winning play about the pianist and humorist Oscar Levant. He wrote the screenplay for the legal drama film The Burial (2023).

Early years and education[edit]

Wright was born in Dallas, Texas. He attended and graduated from Highland Park High School, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, where he excelled in the theater department and was President of the Thespian Club in 1981. He earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1985. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from New York University.


1995–2003: Quills and I Am My Own Wife[edit]

Wright's play Quills premiered at the Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop followed by a run at Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in 1995. The play recounts the imagined final days in the life of the Marquis de Sade. Quills garnered the 1995 Joseph Kesselring Prize for Best New American Play from the National Arts Club and, for Wright, a 1996 Village Voice Obie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting.[2] In 2000, Wright wrote the screenplay for the film version of Quills which was directed by Philip Kaufman and starred Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, and Michael Caine.[3] The production earned positive reviews[4] with Variety film critic Todd McCarthy writing, "Kaufman‘s intelligently boisterous screen version of Doug Wright‘s successful play...maintains a sharp focus on the notorious writer’s compulsive creativity" adding, "Wright’s script is at its best when centered on the Marquis".[5] For his work Wright received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay as well as the Writers Guild of America's Paul Selvin Award.[6][7]

Wright's I Am My Own Wife was produced Off-Broadway by Playwrights Horizons in 2003. It transferred to Broadway where it won the Tony Award for Best Play, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The subject of this one-person play, which starred Jefferson Mays, is the German transvestite Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. With his play I Am My Own Wife, Wright tied in with the film I Am My Own Woman by avant-garde director Rosa von Praunheim (1992).[8]

2006–2017: Focus in musical theatre[edit]

Wright returned to Broadway in 2006, writing the book for Grey Gardens, starring Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson.[9] The musical is based on the Maysles brothers' 1975 film documentary of the same title about Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale ("Big Edie") and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie"), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's aunt and cousin. For his work he received a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical nomination.[10] He then adapted the Disney film The Little Mermaid for the Broadway musical, which opened in 2007.[11]

In 2009, he was commissioned by the La Jolla Playhouse to adapt and direct Creditors by August Strindberg. In another La Jolla commission, he wrote the book for the musical Hands on a Hardbody, with the score by Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio. The musical had a brief run on Broadway in March and April 2013 after premiering at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2012. As an ardent supporter for writers' rights in the theatre industry, he is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and was formerly the elected president of the non-profit organization, succeeded in 2021 by Amanda Green (the first woman to hold the role in the Guild's history).[12] Wright also serves on the board of New York Theatre Workshop. He serves on the boards of Yaddo and New York Theatre Workshop. He is a recipient of the William L. Bradley Fellowship at Yale University, the Charles MacArthur Fellowship at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, an HBO Fellowship in playwriting and the Alfred Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University. In 2010 he was named a United States Artists Fellow.[13]

He wrote the book for the musical, War Paint, about Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. The music is by Scott Frankel and the lyrics by Michael Korie. War Paint premiered at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago, from June 28 to August 14, 2016, with stars Patti LuPone as Helena Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden.[14] It ran on Broadway in 2017. The musical received four Tony Award nominations for Ebersole, LuPone, set design, and costume design.

2021–present: Good Night, Oscar[edit]

For television, Wright worked on four pilots for producer Norman Lear and teleplays for Hallmark Entertainment and HBO. In film, Wright’s credits include screenplays for Fine Line Features, Fox Searchlight, and DreamWorks SKG. He wrote screenplay for the upcoming courtroom drama The Burial (2023) directed by Maggie Betts starring Jamie Foxx and Tommy Lee Jones.[15] Also in 2023, Doug wrote the play Good Night, Oscar a drama centered around pianist and actor Oscar Levant's appearance on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. The play starred Sean Hayes and premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago before making its transfer to Broadway.[16][17] The production earned three Tony Award nominations for Best Actor in a Play (Hayes), Best Scenic Design of a Play and Best Costume Design of a Play.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Wright lives in New York City with his husband, singer/songwriter David Clement.[19]



Year Title Role Venue Ref.
1995 Quills Playwright New York Theatre Workshop, Off-Broadway [20]
2003 I Am My Own Wife Playwright Playwrights Horizons, Off-Broadway
Lyceum Theatre, Broadway
2006 Grey Gardens Book by Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway [22]
2007 The Little Mermaid Book by Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, Broadway [23]
2012 Hands on a Hardbody Book by Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway [24]
2015 Posterity Playwright Atlantic Theatre Company, Off-Broadway [25]
2016 War Paint Book by Goodman Theatre, Chicago [26]
2017 Nederlander Theatre, Broadway [27]
2021 Good Night, Oscar Playwright Goodman Theatre, Chicago [28]
2023 Belasco Theatre, Broadway [29]


Year Title Role Director Notes Ref.
2000 Quills Screenwriter Philip Kaufman Feature film debut [30]
2023 The Burial Screenwriter Maggie Betts [31]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2004 Charlie Rose Himself Episode: July 30, 2004
2006 Tony Bennett: An American Classic Writer Documentary
2015 She's The Best Thing in It Himself Documentary [32]

Awards and honors[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1996 Obie Award Best Playwriting Quills Won [33]
2001 Golden Globes Awards Best Screenplay Nominated [34]
2001 Writers Guild of America Award Paul Selvin Award Won
2001 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Screenplay Nominated
2001 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Screenplay Nominated
2001 Satellite Awards Best Adapted Screenplay Won
2001 Online Film Critics Society Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated
2004 Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Solo Show I Am My Own Wife Won [33]
2004 Drama Desk Award Best Play Won
2004 Tony Award Tony Award for Best Play Won
2004 Pulitzer Prize Pulitzer Prize for Drama Won
2005 Lambda Literary Award Won
2006 Toleranzpreis Europa Won [35]
2006 Washington D.C. Film Critics Association Best Adapted Screenplay Memoirs of a Geisha Nominated
2006 Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Musical Grey Gardens Nominated [33]
2006 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
2006 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Book of a Musical Nominated
2007 Tony Award Best Book of a Musical Nominated
2013 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Play Hands on a Hardbody Nominated
2013 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Book of a Musical Nominated
2023 Drama League Award Outstanding Production of a Play Good Night, Oscar Nominated [36]


  1. ^ "Doug Wright". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  2. ^ "Village Voice Obies page". Archived from the original on November 26, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  3. ^ "Quills (2000)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  4. ^ "Quills". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  5. ^ "Quills review". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  6. ^ "Douglas Wright". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  7. ^ "WGA taps 'Quills' scribe Wright for Selvin laurel". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  8. ^ Smith, Rupert (November 8, 2005). "Frock horror". The Guardian. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  9. ^ "Look Back at the Original Broadway Production of Grey Gardens". Playbill. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  10. ^ "2007 Tony Award Nominations". Tony Awards. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  11. ^ "Doug Wright Talks How to Adapt 'The Little Mermaid' for Stage". Backstage. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  12. ^ "Amanda Green Named President of Dramatists Guild Council". American Theatre. April 12, 2021. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  13. ^ "United States Artists Official Website". Archived from the original on November 10, 2010.
  14. ^ "War Paint". Goodman Theatre. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "'The Burial' Trailer: Jamie Foxx Heads to Court as Tommy Lee Jones' Attorney". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  16. ^ "Opening March 21, Goodman Theatre's Good Night, Oscar Extends Run". Playbill. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  17. ^ "Good Night, Oscar Closes on Broadway August 27". Playbill. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  18. ^ "Tony Award Nominations 2023: 'Some Like It Hot' Dominates, Followed by '& Juliet,' 'Shucked,' 'New York, New York'". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  19. ^ Huff-Hannon, Joseph (October 8, 2008). "Love Stories: Doug Wright and David Clement". The Advocate.
  20. ^ "Show: Quills". New York Theatre Workshop. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  21. ^ Weber, Bruce (December 4, 2003). "THEATER REVIEW; Inventing Her Life As She Goes Along". The New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  22. ^ "Doug Wright Working on Book for New Musical Grey Gardens". Playbill. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  23. ^ "Doug Wright Talks How to Adapt 'The Little Mermaid' for Stage". Backstage. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  24. ^ "'Hands on a Hardbody': Theater Review". The Hollywood Reporter. March 21, 2013. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  25. ^ "Posterity". Atlantic Theatre Company. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  26. ^ "Divas battle over beauty in Goodman Theatre's 'War Paint'". Chicago Tribune. July 18, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  27. ^ "Broadway Review: 'War Paint' Starring Patti LuPone, Christine Ebersole". Variety. April 7, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  28. ^ "In 'Good Night, Oscar' Sean Hayes captures the wit, wisdom and anguish of Levant". Chicago Sun-Times. March 22, 2022. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  29. ^ Meyer, Dan (February 5, 2020). "Sean Hayes to Play Oscar Levant in Doug Wright's Good Night, Oscar". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  30. ^ "Doug Wright". IMDb.
  31. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 10, 2020). "Jamie Foxx To Produce And Star In 'The Burial' For Amazon Studios With Maggie Betts Directing". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  32. ^ "She's the Best Thing in It (2015)". IMDb.
  33. ^ a b c "Doug Wright". BroadwayWorld.
  34. ^ "Doug Wright - Awards". IMDb.
  35. ^ "KulturPreis Europa – Ihre Entscheidung – Ihre Wahl" (in German). KulturForum Europa e.V. 2008. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved December 25, 2008.
  36. ^ "Good Night, Oscar". Playbill. Retrieved February 15, 2024.

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