The new documentary Every Act of Life is about four-time Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally’s six ground-breaking decades in the theatre, hig fight for LGBTQ rights, his triumph over addiction, his pursuit of love and inspiration at every age, and the power of the arts to transform society.
The son of an alcoholic beer distributor in southern Texas, Terrence traveled the world as tutor to John Steinbeck’s children (Steinbeck’s only advice was, “Don’t write for the theater. It will break your heart”); suffered an infamous Broadway flop in 1965 at age 24; and went on to write dozens of groundbreaking plays and musicals about sexuality, homophobia, faith, the power of art, the need to connect and finding meaning in every moment of life.
He’s won tons of awards; had long relationships with Edward Albee and Wendy Wasserstein; lost a lover and many friends to AIDS; stopped drinking through the intervention of Angela Lansbury; helped launch the careers of Nathan Lane, F. Murray Abraham, Audra McDonald, Doris Roberts, Patrick Wilson and Joe Mantello; was an early champion of marriage equality and faced violent protests for his play Corpus Christi; survived a brutal fight with lung cancer; and finally found lasting love with his now-husband, producer Tom Kirdahy.
Featuring F. Murray Abraham, Christine Baranski, Tyne Daly, Edie Falco, Larry Kramer, Nathan Lane, Angela Lansbury, Joe Mantello, Audra McDonald, Rita Moreno, Billy Porter, Chita Rivera, Doris Roberts, Don Roos, John Slattery, Patrick Wilson and more – plus the voices of Dan Bucatinsky, Bryan Cranston, and Meryl Streep – this celebratory doc digs deep.
Terrence’s plays, musicals, operas, and screenplays include: And Things That Go Bump in the Night (1964), Next (1969), Bad Habits (1974), The Ritz (1975), Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1982), It’s Only a Play (1986 / 2014), Andre’s Mother (1990), The Lisbon Traviata (1989), Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991), Kiss of the Spider Woman (1992), A Perfect Ganesh (1993), Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994), Master Class (1995), Ragtime (1996), Corpus Christi (1998), Dead Man Walking (2000), The Full Monty (2000), Mothers and Sons (2014), and Anastasia (2017).