will be honored with the
William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater Award
34th Annual William Inge Theatre Festival
Independence, Kansas, at Independence Community College, on April 19, 2015.
Born in Brooklyn in 1954, Donald Margulies grew up in Trump Village, a Coney Island housing project built by Donald Trump's father. Margulies was exposed early to the theatre. His father, a wallpaper salesman, played show tunes on the family hi-fi every Saturday, and despite a limited income, often took his children to Manhattan to attend Broadway plays and musicals.
Margulies studied visual arts at the Pratt Institute, before transferring to the State University of New York to pursue a degree in playwriting. During the early 80s, he collaborated with Joseph Papp, and his first Off-Broadway play, Found a Peanut, was produced at the Public Theatre. In 1983, he moved with his wife, Lynn Street, to New Haven, Connecticut, so that she could attend Yale Medical School.
Margulies has received numerous awards throughout his career. In 2005, he was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters with an Award in Literature, and was the recipient of the 2000 Sidney Kingsley Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Theater by a Playwright, and the 2014 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater, American Playwright in Mid-Career Award. Along the way Margulies also won a Lucille Lortel Award, two American Theater Critics New Play Citations, two Los Angeles Drama Critics Awards, two OBIE Awards (for Sight Unseen and The Model Apartment), one Tony Award nomination (for Time Stands Still), one L.A. Ovation Award (for The Country House), two Dramatists’ Guild Hull-Warriner Awards, five Drama Desk Award nominations, five Burns Mantle Best Play citations, two Pulitzer Prize nominations (for Sight Unseen and Collected Stories) and the Pulitzer Prize (for Dinner With Friends). His other plays include Brooklyn Boy, The Loman Family Picnic, What’s Wrong With This Picture?, Found A Peanut, God Of Vengeance, Coney Island Christmas, and Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures Of Louis De Rougemont (As Told By Himself).
The film of his screenplay, The End of the Tour, will premiere at Sundance Film Festival in 2015. Additional Margulies projects include the book of a new musical of Father of the Bride, for Disney Theatricals.
Mr. Margulies has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Foundation for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists, serves on the council of The Dramatists Guild of America, and is an adjunct professor of English and Theatre Studies at Yale University.
His plays have premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Repertory, The New York Shakespeare Festival and the Jewish Repertory Theatre; and are performed regularly at major theatres across the United States and around the world.
Margulies now joins a select roster of world-renowned playwrights who have traveled to the Inge Festival to receive the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater Award. This select company includes Arthur Miller, Stephen Sondheim, Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe, August Wilson, and Neil Simon, to name only a few. Upon being notified of this recognition, Margulies said, “I am delighted to receive this career-affirming honor and humbled to find myself in such distinguished company.”
“Donald Margulies has delivered a consistently excellent body of work, with humor and punch, in one of the most distinctive voices of the American theater.” said Karen Carpenter, Interim Artistic Director of the Inge Center. “Margulies’ ability to excavate both comedy and pathos, in writing about the struggle to belong, to sustain relationships, to find one’s purpose in life, has made a lasting impact,” Carpenter said, “and shown us that the heartbreak life gives us can be transforming.”
His latest play, The Country House, premiered on Broadway this season, and will receive a reading on Friday, April 17, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. in the William Inge Theater. While at the Inge Festival, Margulies will also present a Master Class in Playwrighting.
About the William Inge Theatre Festival
Plunge into three extraordinary days overflowing with live performances, workshops, panels, discussions, tributes, parties and great food. Sit in on master classes with Broadway veterans, thrill to terrific classic and contemporary plays, and join theater buffs nationwide in saluting the best sages of the stage!
For three decades, some of our nation’s brightest stars have met in writer William Inge’s hometown to celebrate the best in American theater. Since 1982, the small prairie town of Independence, Kansas has welcomed theatrical giants such as Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, and Stephen Sondheim. Enjoy theater as experienced no place else! The Inge Festival is the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas.
About William Inge
William Motter Inge (1913-1973)
Born in Independence on May 3, 1913, he was the second son of Luther Clay Inge and Maude Sarah Gibson-Inge, and the youngest of five children. Independence had a profound influence on the young Inge and he would later attribute his understanding of human behavior to growing up in this small town.
In 1930, Inge graduated from Independence High School and went on to attend Independence Junior College (now Independence Community College,) graduated from The University of Kansas, and George Peabody College for Teachers, in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1937-38, Inge taught high school English and Drama in Columbus, Kansas and from 1938-1943, was a member of the faculty at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. In 1943, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked as the drama and music critic for the St. Louis Times. It was while he worked as a drama critic that Inge became acquainted with Tennessee Williams and accompanied him to a performance of his play The Glass Menagerie in Chicago. Within three months he had completed Farther Off From Heaven, which was produced by Margo Jones in Dallas. Inge returned to a teaching position at Washington University in St. Louis and began serious work on turning a fragmentary short story into a one act play. This work evolved into a play that earned Inge the title of most promising playwright of the 1950 Broadway season. The play was Come Back, Little Sheba. In 1952, Paramount Pictures released the film version of Come Back, Little Sheba, directed by Daniel Mann, and starring Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster.
In 1953, Picnic opened at The Music Box Theatre in New York City, and won Inge a Pulitzer Prize, The Drama Critic Circle Award, The Outer Circle Award, and The Theatre Club Award. In 1956, Columbia Picures released the film version of Picnic, directed by Joshua Logan and starring William Holden, Kim Novak and Rosalind Russell.
Inge’s next success came in 1955 when Bus Stop opened at The Music Box Theatre in New York City. Directed by Joshua Logan, the film version of Bus Stop was released by Fox in 1956 with Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray and Eileen Heckart, in starring roles.
The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, a reworking of his first play, Farther Off From Heaven, opened on Broadway in 1957. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, considered to be Inge’s finest play, is the one in which he draws most directly from his past. It was released as a film starring Dorothy McGuire, Robert Preston, Shirley Knight, Eve Arden, and Angela Lansbury, in 1960.
In 1959, A Loss of Roses opened to poor reviews and closed after a three week run. In 1960, Inge's first screenplay, Splendor in the Grass, was filmed in New York. It starred Natalie Wood, Pat Hingle and newcomer Warren Beatty. It also featured the only screen appearance of Inge himself, who played the part of Reverend Whitman. Splendor in the Grass was a triumph for Inge and won him an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.
His next two plays were Natural Affection in 1963 and Where's Daddy? in 1965. Both were unsuccessful. This prompted him to leave New York in 1963 at the age of fifty and move to California. Off the Main Road was produced in 1964, as a teleplay on Bob Hope's Chrysler Theater television show. In 1968-70, he resumed his teaching career at the University of California at Irvine. In his remaining years he published two novels: “Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff” (1970)and “My Son Is a Splendid Driver” (1971).