|Born||February 22, 1958|
East Meadow, New York, U.S.
|Occupation||Playwright, television writer|
|Education||Princeton University (BA)|
Yale University (MFA)
|Notable works||Eastern Standard (1988)|
Three Days of Rain (1998)
Take Me Out (2003)
|Notable awards||Tony Award for Best Play|
New York Drama Critics Circle Award
Drama Desk Award
Finalist, Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Richard Greenberg (born February 22, 1958) is an American playwright and television writer known for his subversively humorous depictions of middle-class American life. He has had more than 25 plays premiere on and Off-Broadway in New York City and eight at the South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, California, including The Violet Hour, Everett Beekin, and Hurrah at Last.
Greenberg is perhaps best known for his 2003 Tony Award winning play, Take Me Out, about the conflicts that arise after a Major League Baseball player nonchalantly announces to the media that he is gay. The play premiered in London and ran in New York as the first collaboration between England's Donmar Warehouse and New York's Public Theater. After it transferred to Broadway in early 2003, Take Me Out won widespread critical acclaim for Greenberg and many prestigious awards.
Background and education
Greenberg grew up in East Meadow, New York, a middle-class Long Island town in Nassau County, east of New York City. His father, Leon Greenberg, was an executive for New York's Century Theaters movie chain, and his mother Shirley was a homemaker. Greenberg graduated from East Meadow High School in 1976 and went on to attend Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude with an A.B. in English. As part of his degree, Greenberg completed a 438-page senior thesis titled "A Romantic Career - A Novel". At Princeton, Greenberg studied creative writing under Joyce Carol Oates and roomed with future Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw. Later he attended Harvard for graduate work in English and American literature, but dropped out of the program when he was accepted to the Yale School of Drama's playwriting program in 1985.
Along with Take Me Out, Greenberg's plays include The Dazzle, The American Plan, Life Under Water, and The Author's Voice. His adaptation of August Strindberg's Dance of Death ran on Broadway in 2002, starring Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, and David Strathairn.
He received the George Oppenheimer Award presented by Newsday in 1985 for The Bloodletters, produced off-off-Broadway while he was at Yale. In 1998 he was the first winner of the PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award for a playwright in mid-career.
In 2013, Greenberg worked on three shows: on Broadway, an adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Assembled Parties, and the book for the musical Far From Heaven, which opened in June 2013 at Playwrights Horizons.
His play Our Mother's Brief Affair premiered at the South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa in April 2009. Directed by Pam MacKinnon, the cast featured Jenny O'Hara, Matthew Arkin, Arye Gross and Marin Hinkle. This was a commission from the SCRT. The play opened on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club, on December 28, 2015 (previews), and officially on January 20, 2016, starring Linda Lavin.
His play The Babylon Line premiered Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on November 10, 2016, in previews, and officially on December 5. Directed by Terry Kinney, the cast features Josh Radnor as a writing teacher and Elizabeth Reaser as his student. The play was first performed at New York Stage and Film & Vassar College's Powerhouse Theater in June and July 2014, starring Radnor.
The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary American Playwrights describes Greenberg's "most prominent" interest as history "and (also) the past". He has a strong "tendency to draw on historical characters or events——the Lost Generation, the Collyer Brothers, the New York Yankees" as sources for his material. He is said to have a "witty use of language."
Awards and nominations
- 1989: "Ask Me Again" (based on "An Old-Fashioned Story" by Laurie Colwin), American Playhouse, PBS.
- 1989: "Life under Water" (based on his one-act play), PBS.
- 1989: "The Sad Professor," Trying Times, PBS.
- 1990: "The Sacrifice," Tales from the Crypt.
- 1991: "Georgie through the Looking Glass," Sisters, NBC.
- 1999: "The Time the Millennium Approached," Time of Your Life, Fox.
- "Richard Greenberg (1958-)". Doollee's Complete Guide to the Playwright, Plays, Theatres, and Agents. 2003. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- Hernandez, Ernio (December 5, 2007). "South Coast Rep Nabs Another Greenberg World-Premiere Comedy, 'The Injured Party'". Playbill. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
- Brantley, Ben (February 28, 2003). "Theatre Review: Love Affair With Baseball And a Lot of Big Ideas". New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- "Richard Greenberg". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale Biography In Context. Detroit: Gale. 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- Witchel, Alex (March 26, 2006). "A Dramatic Shut-In". New York Times Magazine. p. 47. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- Greenberg, Richard. A Romantic Career - A Novel (Thesis). Princeton University. Department of English.
- Bryer, Jackson R. and Hartig, Mary C. "Richard Greenberg" The Facts on File Companion to American Drama, Infobase Publishing, 2010, ISBN 1438129661, p.207
- Rich, Frank. "Stage: 'The Bloodletters,' a Comedy" The New York Times, December 7, 1984
- Guernsey, Otis L. and Sweet, Jeffrey. "Eastern Standard" The Best Plays of 1988-1989: The Complete Broadway and Off-Broadway Sourcebook Hal Leonard Corporation, 1989, ISBN 1557830568, p. 172
- "Richard Greenberg". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
- Lawrence Van Gelder (May 9, 1998). "Arthur Miller Gets Award From PEN". New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- Gans, Andrew. "Broadway's Breakfast at Tiffany's Sets Closing Date" Archived November 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Playbill.com, April 15, 2013
- McNulty, Charles. "A rich season for playwright Richard Greenberg", Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2013
- Jones, Kenneth. "Richard Greenberg's Our Mother's Brief Affair Opens April 10 at South Coast Rep" Playbill.com, April 10, 2009
- McNulty, Charles. "Review. 'Our Mother's Brief Affair'" Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2009
- Clement, Olivia. "'Our Mother's Brief Affair', with Linda Lavin, Begins Previews on Broadway Tonight" Playbill.com, December 28, 2015
- Viagas, Robert. "Verdict: How Were the Reviews for 'Our Mother's Brief Affair'? Playbill.com, January 20, 2016
- The Babylon Line lct.org, accessed November 21, 2016
- Gordon, David. "Josh Radnor and Elizabeth Reaser to Lead Richard Greenberg's 'The Babylon Line'" TheaterMania, July 21, 2016.
- "Powerhouse Season attracts theater, TV stars". Poughkeepsie Journal. May 22, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2021.
- Innes, Christopher (and others) editor, "Richard Greenberg" The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary American Playwrights (no page number), A&C Black, 2013, ISBN 1408134810
- Portantiere, Michael. "The 2001-2002 Outer Critics Circle Award Winners" theatermania.com, April 29, 2002
- "1998 Literary Award Winners" pen.org, accessed March 6, 2016
- Rich, Frank. "Theater Review. 'Hunger Artist, Kafka in Life and Work" New York Times, February 27, 1987
- Rich, Frank. "Theater review. 'The maderati' by Richard Greenberg" New York Times, February 20, 1987
- Goodman, Walter. "Theater Review. Of Baseball, the Infinite and Various Kinds of Curves" New York Times, June 16, 1988
- Rich, Frank. "Review/Theater; Stylish and Affluent Extra Man With Dark Views and Dark Plot" New York Times, May 20, 1992
- Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. 'Night and Her Stars', A Different Take On Quiz Scandals" New York Times, April 27, 1995
- Richards, David. "Review/Theater; White Knights and Villains In the Quiz-Show Scandals" New York Times, March 16, 1994
- Everett Beekin lct.org, accessed December 28, 2015
- Oxman, Steve. "Review. Everett Beekin Variety, September 20, 2000
- The Dance of Death ibdb.com, accessed January 21, 2016
- Simonson, Robert. Death, Where Is Thy Closing? Jan. 13, McKellen and Mirren Dance Away" playbill.com, January 13, 2002
- Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. At Home With the Collyer Brothers" New York Times, March 6, 2002
- Jones, Kenneth. "Richard Greenberg Crashes Capote's Ball in World Premiere, 'Bal Masque', in Busy Season for D.C.'s Theater J" playbill.com, July 13, 2005
- Abarbanel, Jonathan. "Review: 'The Well-Appointed Room' backstage.com, February 8, 2006
- Columbus,Curt; Murray, Thomas; Nedved, William. "Richard Greenberg: The Mind Lighting 'The Well-Appointed Room'" steppenwolf.org, 2005-2006, Vol. 2
- The House in Town lct.org, accessed December 30, 2015
- Breakfast at Tiffany's ibdb.com, accessed December 15, 2016
- Richard Greenberg - Downstage Center interview at American Theatre Wing
- Everett Beekin at South Coast Repertory
- Playbill.com on The Violet Hour
- The Old Globe, San Diego
- Culturevulture.net, review of Take Me Out
- Richard Greenberg at the Internet Broadway Database
- Richard Greenberg at the Internet Off-Broadway Database