Matthew Lopez (writer)

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Matthew Lopez
Matthew lopez 2021 1.jpg
Lopez at the 74th Tony Awards in 2021
Born (1977-03-24) March 24, 1977 (age 46)
EducationUniversity of South Florida

Matthew Lopez is an American playwright and screenwriter. His play The Inheritance, directed by Stephen Daldry, premiered at London's Young Vic in 2018, where it was called "the most important American play of the century."[1] It transferred to the West End later that year, and opened on Broadway In 2019.[2] The Inheritance is the most honored American play in a generation, sweeping the "Best Play" awards in both London and New York including the Tony Award, Olivier Award, Drama Desk Award, Evening Standard Award, London Critics Circle Award,[3] Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League Award, WhatsOnStage Award, and the Southbank Sky Arts Award. He is the first Latine writer to win the Tony Award for Best Play.[4]

In New York, Lopez's work has been seen off-Broadway with The Whipping Man (Manhattan Theatre Club), and The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC Theatre), productions that received Obie, Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards.[5] Other works include Somewhere and Reverberation (Hartford Stage), The Sentinels (Headlong Theatre, London), and Zoey's Perfect Wedding (Denver Center).[6][7][8] As of August 2020, Lopez is writing the musical adaptation of Some Like it Hot (1959).[9]

He has written for HBO and Netflix,[10] developed films with Plan B Entertainment and Working Title Films and is adapting The Legend of Georgia McBride for the screen.

Lopez will be making his directorial debut with the film adaptation of the LGBTQ+ romantic comedy Red, White & Royal Blue for Amazon Studios.[11] In addition to directing the film, Lopez has adapted the script, based on Casey McQuiston's bestselling novel.

Early life and education[edit]

Lopez was born in Panama City, Florida[12] to two public school teachers. His father, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the older brother of actor Priscilla Lopez.[13] Lopez graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in theatre performance. He is openly gay.[14]


The Whipping Man[edit]

Lopez's breakout play The Whipping Man debuted at Luna Stage[15] in Montclair, New Jersey in 2006 and premiered Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club[16] on February 1, 2011, directed by Doug Hughes and starring Andre Braugher and Andre Holland. The Off-Broadway production of The Whipping Man was extended four times, and won the 2011 Obie Award for Performance (Braugher) and the 2011 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lighting Design. Lopez won the John Gassner New Play Award.[17]

The Whipping Man is set in Richmond, Virginia in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War and concerns two recently freed slaves encountering their former master. The former slaves, like their former master, identify as Jewish. The play examines the unique occurrence of Passover in 1865 beginning the day after Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox. It explores the meaning of freedom and the various ways people are enslaved — to addictions, to prejudices.

In his The New York Times review Charles Isherwood called the play "emotionally potent, almost surreal in the layers of meaning it conjures."[18] Braugher and Holland both earned critical acclaim for their performances.

Between 2012 and 2016, The Whipping Man was one of the most widely produced plays in America.[19]


Somewhere premiered at the Old Globe Theatre[20] in San Diego in September 2011,[21] before moving to Hartford Stage, Hartford, Connecticut.[22] Matthew Lopez was the Playwright-in-Residence at the Old Globe Theatre. The play, featuring a majority Latin cast, concerns a theatrical family living in Manhattan in 1959, as West Side Story captured the zeitgeist. The proposed construction of Lincoln Center and the ensuing demolition of their neighborhood leaves the family to fight for their home and their dreams. Somewhere was directed by Giovanna Sardelli, and featured Matthew Lopez's aunt Priscilla Lopez. Critics lauded the production, comparing Lopez's writing to Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.[23]

The story of Somewhere has roots in Lopez's family history. His father was an extra in the 1961 film adaptation of West Side Story, and appears on screen in the playground, just after the prologue[24]


Lopez's next play Reverberation premiered at Hartford Stage, Hartford, Connecticut[25] running from February 19, 2015, to March 15, directed by Maxwell Williams and starring Luke Macfarlane. The story follows Jonathan, a young gay New Yorker, who spends increasingly more time holed up in his Astoria apartment following a violent attack that has left him afraid to go out into the world. He is befriended by his new upstairs neighbor, Claire, a Holly Golightly-like character who, despite her active social life, is just as afraid and lonely as Jonathan. The play examines how violence – against women, against the LGBTQ community – impacts the lives of those both directly and indirectly affected by it. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times writes that "the play is marked by a perceptiveness about the echoing loneliness that many urban dwellers live with."[26]

The Legend of Georgia McBride[edit]

The Legend of Georgia McBride debuted at Denver Center of Performing Arts[27] in 2014,[28] and premiered Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre[29] in 2015. The play tells the story of Casey, a down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator who is induced to turn his jumpsuits into dresses and become a drag queen. The play toggles between quippy comedy and show-stopping dance numbers, with Charles Isherwood of The New York Times commenting that the play was "full of sass and good spirits – along with a spritz or two of sentimentality."[30]

In February 2018, New Regency announced it was developing the film adaptation of the play in association with Jim Parsons' production company.[31]

The Inheritance[edit]

Matthew's play The Inheritance, directed by Stephen Daldry,[32] premiered London's Young Vic Theatre in 2018, where it was hailed by The Daily Telegraph[33] as "the most important American play of the century."  It transferred to the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End later that year, and opened on Broadway last autumn. The Inheritance earned eleven nominations for the 74th Tony Awards, including Best Play, as well as eight nominations at the 2019 Laurence Olivier Awards, winning for Best New Play, Best Director (Stephen Daldry), Best Actor (Kyle Soller), and Best Lighting Design (Jon Clark). Lopez received the Evening Standard Award[34] and Critics Circle Theatre Award[35] for Best New Play as well. Sweeping the "Best Play" awards in both London and New York including the Olivier Award, Drama Desk Award, Evening Standard Award, London Critics Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League Award, WhatsOnStage Award, and the Southbank Sky Arts Award, The Inheritance is the most honoured American play in generation. Matthew is the first Latino writer to win any of these awards for Best Play. The Inheritance was also selected as the recipient for the GLAAD Media Awards "Outstanding Broadway Production".[36]

Set in New York three decades after the height of the AIDS epidemic, The Inheritance wrestles with what it means to be a gay man today, exploring relationships and connections across age and social class and asking what one generation's responsibilities may be to the next. The play is a loose adaptation of E.M. Forster's novel Howards End. The premiere featured a cast that included Vanessa Redgrave, John Benjamin Hickey, and Paul Hilton as Forster himself.

The play received widespread critical acclaim and was lauded as an instant modern classic by those who viewed it.[citation needed] The Evening Standard declared[37] the play "a work of rare grace, truth, and beauty."

The play premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on September 27, 2019, in previews, with the official opening on November 17. It won the Tony Award for Best play at the 2021 Tony Awards.[38]

In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named him among the fifty heroes "leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people".[39][40]


In October 2020, he signed an overall deal with Amazon Studios.[41]

In September 2021, it was reported that Lopez will be writing the remake of The Bodyguard.[42]

He is also co-writing the musical adaptation of the classic film Some Like it Hot,[43] as well as a feature film adaptation of the novel Leading Men, which centers on Tennessee Williams and his longtime partner Frank Merlo, for Searchlight Pictures.[44]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2011 Outer Critics Circle Award John Gassner Award The Whipping Man Won
2018 Evening Standard Theatre Award Best Play The Inheritance Won [45]
Critics' Circle Theatre Award Best New Play Won [35]
2019 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Play Won [46]
South Bank Sky Arts Award Theatre Won [47]
WhatsOnStage Award Best New Play Won [48]
2020 Tony Award Best Play Won [49]
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Play Won [50]
Drama League Award Outstanding Production of a Play Won [51]
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award Best Play Finalist [52]
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Play Honoree [53]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Broadway Production Won [54]
2022 [[NHMC Impact Awards[55]]] Outstanding Playwright The Inheritance Won

[56]== References ==

  1. ^ "The Inheritance". Young Vic website. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  2. ^ Skethway, Nathan (November 18, 2019). "Go Inside Opening Night for Matthew Lopez's The Inheritance on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  3. ^ "The Inheritance wins three theatre awards". BBC News. 2019-01-29. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  4. ^ Jacobs, Julia (27 September 2021). "'The Inheritance' wins best play, making Matthew López the first Latino writer to take home the award". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "The Whipping Man". Concord Theatricals. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  6. ^ Purcell, Carey (April 11, 2014). "Matthew Lopez's Somewhere, Starring Tony Winner Priscilla Lopez, Opens at Hartford Stage April 11". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  7. ^ "Matthew Lopez on Writing Reverberation". Hartford Stage. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  8. ^ Wolf, Matt (2011-09-20). "Onstage in London, Works That Look Back in Time as They Move Forward". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  9. ^ McPhee, Ryan (15 May 2020). "Some Like It Hot Musical to Go Straight to Broadway, Scraps Chicago Premiere". Playbill. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  10. ^ "Matthew Lopez". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-08-03.
  11. ^ "Tony Winner Matthew López to Make Directorial Debut with LGBTQ+ Romance 'Red, White, and Royal Blue'". October 2021.
  12. ^ "The Inheritance writer Matthew Lopez discusses his early influences, his Florida roots & his writing". Retrieved on 6 June 2019 – via
  13. ^ Ross, Blake (19 June 2016). "Who's Next: Matthew Lopez". Playbill. Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  14. ^ Raymond, Gerard (August 13, 2019). "MATTHEW LOPEZ TALKS ABOUT THE UNUSUAL LOVE AFFAIR THAT INSPIRED THE INHERITANCE". Broadway Direct.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "Production History | Luna Stage | Equity Theatre | West Orange, New Jersey". Luna Stage. Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Manhattan Theatre Club – The Whipping Man". Manhattan Theatre Club. Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  17. ^ The Whipping Man Internet Off-Broadway database, retrieved June 6, 2019
  18. ^ Isherwood, Charles (1 February 2011). "'The Whipping Man' at City Center's Stage I - Review". The New York Times, February 1, 2011, Retrieved on June 6, 2019
  19. ^ Tran, Diep (21 September 2016). "The Top 10* Most-Produced Plays of the 2016-17 Season". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ Jones, Kenneth; Gans, Andrew. "Old Globe's Somewhere, With Priscilla Lopez, Leo Ash Evens, Jon Rua, Opens in CA" Playbill, September 29, 2011
  22. ^ "Somewhere by Matthew Lopez: Live Musicals CT"., Retrieved on 6 June 2019
  23. ^ "Theater review: 'Somewhere' at the Old Globe". Los Angeles Times, 5 October 5, 2011, Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  24. ^ Taylor, Nicole Estvanik. "There Goes the Neighborhood!". American Theatre, February 1, 2013, Retrieved on 6 June 2019
  25. ^ "Reverberation at Hartford Stage". Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  26. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Review: In 'Reverberation,' Singles Adrift in the Big City". The New York Times, March 6, 2015, Retrieved June 6, 2019
  27. ^ "LASC Presents The Legend Of Georgia McBride ". Retrieved on 6 June 2019
  28. ^ Bows, Bob. "Denver Theater Review: The Legend of Georgia McBride " Variety, January 22, 2014
  29. ^ "The Legend of Georgia McBride"., Retrieved on June 6, 2019
  30. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Review: The Legend of Georgia McBride, From Elvis Impersonator to Drag Queen". The New York Times, October 11, 2015
  31. ^ McNary, Dave. "Jim Parsons to Star in The Legend of Georgia McBride Movie". Variety, February 12, 2018, Retrieved on June 6, 2019
  32. ^ Trueman, Matt (29 March 2018). "London Theater Review: 'The Inheritance'". Variety, Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  33. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (29 March 2018). "The Inheritance, Young Vic review: perhaps the most important American play of the century so far". Retrieved on 6 June 2019 – via
  34. ^ "I wrote The Inheritance to heal, says Best Play winner Matthew Lopez". Evening Standard. 18 November 2018. Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  35. ^ a b "The Inheritance and Company win big at Critics' Circle Awards 2018". Official London Theatre. Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  36. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (2020-07-31). "GLAAD Media Awards Winners List: 'Pose', 'Booksmart', 'Schitt's Creek' Among Honorees". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  37. ^ "The Inheritance is a work of rare grace, truth and beauty". Evening Standard. 15 October 2018. Retrieved on 6 June 2019.
  38. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Two-Part, Gay-Themed 'The Inheritanc'e Will Play Broadway" Playbill, June 6, 2019
  39. ^ "Queerty Pride50 2020 Honorees". Queerty. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  40. ^ Reddish, David (2020-06-15). "Meet the entertainment creators fighting the good fight this year". Queerty. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
  41. ^ White, Peter (2020-10-01). "Amazon Studios Strikes Overall TV Deal With Playwright Matthew López". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-10-02.
  42. ^ Donnelly, Matt (15 September 2021). "'The Bodyguard' Remake Gets Remake At Warner Bros. Written by Tony Nominee Matthew López". Variety. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  43. ^ "Amber Ruffin to Co-Write Broadway-Aimed Some Like It Hot Musical".
  44. ^ "'The Inheritance' Scribe Matthew López to Pen Tennessee Williams Drama". 23 November 2020.
  45. ^ Longman, Will (2018-11-19). "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018 winners announced". London Theatre Guide. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  46. ^ "Winners list for the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard | Official Website". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  47. ^ "The Inheritance, Lenny Henry and Jessie Buckley win South Bank Sky Arts awards | WhatsOnStage". Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  48. ^ "WhatsOnStage Awards 2019: the winners in full |". - London Theatre Tickets. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  49. ^ "The Tony Award Nominations". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  50. ^ "'The Inheritance,' 'Strange Loop,' 'Moulin Rouge' Among Drama Desk Award Winners". Variety. 2020-06-14. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  51. ^ "Nominations Announced for 86th Annual Drama League Awards". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  52. ^ "2019-2020 Awards". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  53. ^ Clement, Olivia (11 May 2020). "Moulin Rouge! Leads 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award Honorees". Playbill. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  54. ^ "UPDATING: Award Recipients at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards". GLAAD. 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  55. ^ Yuma, Jennifer. "Salma Hayek Pinault, Tessa Thompson Among Honorees for Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Awards". Variety. Variety.
  56. ^ Yuma, Jennifer. "Salma Hayek Pinault, Tessa Thompson Among Honorees for Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Awards". Variety. Variety.

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