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5 minutes with a Tony nominee: ‘Appropriate’’s Lila Neugebauer

The Broadway director earns her first Tony Award nomination for the Branden Jacobs-Jenkins play.

Lila Neugebauer attends the 77th Annual Tony Awards Meet the Nominees Press Event at Sofitel New York on May 02, 2024, in New York City. (Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

In 2018, Lila Neugebauer made her Broadway debut as the director of Kenneth Lonergan’s “The Waverly Gallery.” Since then, she’s continued to helm work Off-Broadway (Simon Stephens’ world premiere “Morning Sun,” Alison Leiby’s solo comedy “Oh God, A Show About Abortion”) as well as for television and film. But Neugebauer’s friend and collaborator Branden Jacobs-Jenkins brought her back to the Main Stem with the revival of his epic family drama “Appropriate.”

Though “Appropriate” previously enjoyed an Off-Broadway run in 2014, the Broadway mounting marks Neugebauer’s first staging of the play. But, as the director explains in this episode, it is not her first encounter with it. 

Neugebauer has been a force Off-Broadway, as recognized in 2017 with the Drama Desk’s Sam Norkin Award. According to the Drama Desk, the honor acknowledged: “During a season that saw her helm the original works ‘The Antipodes,’ ‘Everybody,’ ‘Miles for Mary’ and ‘The Wolves,’ and resurrect the works of esteemed playwrights Edward Albee, Maria Irene Fornes and Adrienne Kennedy in Signature Plays, director Lila Neugebauer has shown that her dauntless insight into the human condition knows no bounds.”

And now that boundless exploration has earned her a Tony nod. Here, she talks about developing her bond with Jacobs-Jenkins, navigating the shifting tones of “Appropriate” and staging a demanding epilogue for Broadway.

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