Tony award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, known for plays like Love! Valour! Compassion! and for musical version of Kiss of the Spider Woman, has died of complications related to the coronavirus, his representative says.

Matt Polk said McNally, 81, died on Tuesday in a hospital in Florida. The Broadway theatre veteran was a lung cancer survivor and had lived with a chronic respiratory condition.

McNally’s career spanned six decades, encompassing plays, musicals and operas. It ranged from AIDS dramas Lips Together, Teeth Apart, to domestic drama Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and the stage musical adaptation of movie The Full Monty.

He was given a lifetime achievement award at the 2019 Tony Awards ceremony in New York, adding to the four he received for Love! Valour! Compassion, Master Class and the books of the musical versions of Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman.

McNally is survived by his husband, producer Tom Kirdahy.


Tributes poured in from the theatre world on Tuesday.

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda said on Twitter he was heartbroken, calling McNally “a giant in our world, who straddled plays and musicals deftly”

Former Rent star Anthony Rapp called him “a vital voice in American theatre, especially effective at lifting up and amplifying the American LGBTQ experience”.

Peter Marks, theatre critic at the Washington Post, tweeted, “This virus is taking great people away. Terrence McNally was a master with class”.

Broadway theatres have been shut since March 12 because of restrictions aimed at preventing the spread or coronavirus.


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