Lucas Hnath

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Lucas Hnath
Hnath in 2017
Hnath in 2017
BornOrlando, Florida
EducationNew York University (BFA, MFA)
Notable worksThe Christians, Red Speedo, A Doll's House, Part 2
Notable awardsJoseph Kesselring Prize, Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Whiting Award, 2017 Steinberg Playwright Award

Lucas Hnath (/ˈnθ/ NAYTH[1][2]) is an American playwright. He won the 2016 Obie Award for excellence in playwriting for his plays Red Speedo and The Christians. He also won a Whiting Award.


Hnath grew up in Orlando, Florida. He moved to New York City in 1997 to study pre-med,[3] and then changed to dramatic writing at the Tisch School of the Arts, at New York University, earning a BFA in 2001, and an MFA in 2002.[4] He teaches at New York University.

He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists.[5]

Red Speedo premiered Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop from February 17, 2016 to March 27, 2016. The play, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, won the Obie Award, Playwriting and Performance for Lucas Caleb Rooney. The play involves Ray, a competitive swimmer at the start of the trials for the Olympic team.[6] Jesse Green, in his review for Vulture, wrote: "Hnath is never interested solely in the material repercussions of character... In Red Speedo, the underlying subject seems to be the cost of morality, which is generally too high for people like Ray... Hnath lightly suggests — he's too subtle to use the big hammer — that the immoral imbalance of our current economy is stripping us down to our animal skins. All we're good for is competition."[7] The play opened at the Studio Theatre, Washington, DC, in 2013. The director of the production, Lila Neugebauer, explained: "...doping is just the arena for a conversation about what constitutes fairness, and the myth of equal opportunity."[8]

His play A Doll's House, Part 2 premiered on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre on April 1, 2017 in previews and closed on September 24, 2017. Directed by Sam Gold, the cast featured Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, and Condola Rashād. The play was commissioned by South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, California, where it was running at the same time, directed by Shelley Butler, beginning April 9, 2017.[9] This marked Hnath's Broadway debut.[10] Hnath's play "picks up after Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" concludes."[11] The play was nominated for the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play and Laurie Metcalf won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play.[12]

His play Hillary and Clinton opened in previews on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre on March 16, 2019, officially on April 18. The play is directed by Joe Mantello and stars Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow. The play had pre-Broadway engagements starting in 2016 at the Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago.[13][14]

Dana H premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (Los Angeles) on May 26, 2019 in previews, officially on June 2, presented by the Center Theatre Group. The play relates a real-life incident in the life of his mother, Dana Higginbotham. The play is directed by Les Waters and stars Deidre O’Connell. The play was commissioned by The Civilians (New York) and the Goodman Theatre (Chicago), and will play at the Goodman later in 2019.[15]

The Christians[edit]

His play The Christians concerns influence and faith in a megachurch,[16] with much of the cast being a church "spirit-raising choir".[17] The plot concerns a pastor who discards traditional fundamentalist Christianity in favor of a more inclusive and universalist Christianity, which affirms the goodness in other religions, and the impact this has on his congregation.

It was produced at the Humana Festival of New American Plays (Louisville, Kentucky) in 2014[18][19] and premiered Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons on August 28, 2015 (previews), closing on October 25, 2015. Directed by Les Waters, the cast featured Andrew Garman as "Pastor Paul", Larry Powell as "Associate Pastor Joshua", Linda Powell as "Elizabeth", Phillip Kerr as "Elder Jay", and Emily Donahoe as "The Congregant". The play made its Chicago premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company on December 1, 2016, directed by K. Todd Freeman.[20] The Chicago Sun-Times reviewer called it a "thought-provoking play".[17] Subsequently, it premiered in the San Francisco Bay Area at San Francisco Playhouse on January 24, 2017, directed by Bill English.[21][22][23]

The play was nominated for two 2016 Drama Desk Awards: Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actor in a Play, Andrew Garman.[24] The play was nominated for the 2016 Lortel Awards for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play (Garman).[25] The play won the 2016 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play.[26]


  • Death Tax,[27] 2012, Humana Festival of New American Plays; Royal Court Theatre
  • A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney,[28] 2013, Soho Rep
  • Isaac's Eye,[29] New York City, Ensemble Studio Theatre
  • Red Speedo, Overlook Press, ISBN 9781468310849; 2013, Studio Theater, Washington, DC;[8] 2016, New York Theatre Workshop[30]
  • The Christians, Overlook Press, 2015, ISBN 9781468310832, Actors Theatre of Louisville; Playwright's Horizons [19][16][31][32][33]
  • Hillary and Clinton,[34] 2016, Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago; 2019, John Golden Theatre, Broadway
  • A Doll's House, Part 2, 2017, John Golden Theatre, Broadway
  • Dana H., 2019, Kirk Douglas Theatre, Los Angeles
  • The Thin Place, 2019, Playwrights Horizons
  • The Courtship of Anna Nicole Smith (audio short play), 2020, Playing on Air

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ Soloski, Alexis (9 February 2013). "Lucas Hnath on His Comedy About Isaac Newton". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Stewart, Randy (March 23, 2018). "Lucas Hnath's Play "The Christians"--"An Honest Play About Faith in America"". KSMU.
  3. ^ Tran, Diep (March 2014). "Lucas Hnath: Frustration Is the Point". American Theatre. Theatre Communications Group. Archived from the original on June 1, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  4. ^ "Alumni: 2016 Obie Award Winners Announced" May 27, 2016. Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
  5. ^ "Lucas Hnath". New Dramatists. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  6. ^ " Red Speedo Off-Broadway", accessed October 8, 2016
  7. ^ Green, Jesse. "Theater Reviews: Danai Gurira’s 'Familia'r and Lucas Hnath’s 'Red Speedo'" Vulture, March 3, 2016
  8. ^ a b Pressley, Nelson. "Studio Theatre’s ‘Red Speedo’ tests the waters on a current issue: doping" Washington Post, September 27, 2013
  9. ^ A Doll's House Part 2, retrieved April 7, 2017
  10. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper & More Will Bring Lucas Hnath's 'A Doll's House, Part 2' to Broadway", October 7, 2016
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Laurie Metcalf and Chris Cooper Will Star in Broadway’s 'A Doll's House, Part 2'" Playbill, October 7, 2016
  12. ^ "Lucas Hnath", accessed March 18, 2019
  13. ^ Clement, Olivia. " 'Hillary and Clinton', Starring Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow, Begins on Broadway" playbill, March 16, 2019
  14. ^ Jones, Chris. " 'Hillary and Clinton' review: When Bill tried to save Hillary" Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2016
  15. ^ Meyer, Dan. "Deirdre O’Connell Will Play Lucas Hnath’s Mom in His New Play" Playbill, April 17, 2019
  16. ^ a b "Lucas Hnath's American Strangeness". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015-09-19. For all its control on the page, "The Christians" is about the uncontrollable, which is to say, how we imagine what life will look like once we enter the everlasting.
  17. ^ a b Weiss, Hedy. "At Steppenwolf, ‘Christians’ reveals a church in upheaval" Chicago Sun-Times, January 3, 2017
  18. ^ The Christians, accessed May 1, 2016
  19. ^ a b Paulson, Michael (2015-09-03). "Lucas Hnath' s "The Christians" Tackles a Schism Among the Flock". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  20. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Steppenwolf Casts 'The Christians' and 'Straight White Men'"
  21. ^ Janiak, Lily. "SF Playhouse takes ‘The Christians’ seriously" San Francisco Chronicle, January 23, 2017
  22. ^ Janiak, Lily. "SF Playhouse takes ‘The Christians’ seriously", January 23, 2017
  23. ^ Hurwitt, Sam. "Review: ‘The Christians’ in San Francisco grapples with issues of faith, loyalty The Mercury News, 2017
  24. ^ The Christians, accessed May 1, 2016
  25. ^ 2016 Lucille Lortel Awards Presented Tonight" Playbill, May 1, 2016
  26. ^ Viagas, Robert. "Bright Star and The Humans Win Top 2016 NY Outer Critics Circle Awards" playbill, May 9, 2016
  27. ^ Death Tax. Dramatist's Play Service. 2013. ISBN 978-0-8222-2755-7.
  28. ^ A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney. Dramatist's Play Service. 25 August 2014. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-0-8222-2993-3.
  29. ^ Isaac's Eye. Dramatist's Play Service. 17 March 2014. ISBN 978-0-8222-2922-3.
  30. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Lucas Hnath's 'Red Speedo' Opens Tonight" Playbill, March 6, 2016
  31. ^ "Believers Vs. Believers in Lucas Hnath's 'The Christians'". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  32. ^ Keane, Erin (March 8, 2014). "Theological Bombshells Land in Lucas Hnath's Humana Festival Play 'The Christians'". 89.3 WFPL. Retrieved 2015-09-19. On the way out of the Pamela Brown on Friday night, I overheard patrons debating the theological points the play raises with an interest and urgency that affirmed both Hnath's approach to telling this particular story and the power, in general, of storytelling on stage.
  33. ^ Soloski, Alexis. "The Christians review - a mature and elusive play about faith". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-19. Whether or not you believe in God, you should believe in Lucas Hnath.
  34. ^ "HILLARY AND CLINTON - Victory Gardens Theater". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  35. ^ "Yale awards eight writers $165,000 Windham-Campbell Prizes". YaleNews. 2018-03-07. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  36. ^ Chow, Andrew (September 27, 2017). "Ayad Akhtar and Lucas Hnath Win Steinberg Awards". New York Times.
  37. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Playwrights Anne Washburn and Lucas Hnath Honored with Whiting Award Grants" Playbill, March 9, 2015
  38. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Lucas Hnath Play Named Winner of Kesselring Prize" Playbill, September 28, 2015
  39. ^ "Lucas Hnath", retrieved January 18, 2017
  40. ^ a b "Lucas Hnath", accessed May 1, 2016

External links[edit]