Broadway producer Tom Kirdahy has announced the launch of a new foundation honoring his husband, the late playwright and librettist Terrence McNally.
The announcement of the Terrence McNally Foundation comes on what would have been the playwright’s 84th birthday.
An avid activist and mentor, five-time Tony Award winner McNally died in March 2020. He was best known for his plays, which included “Master Class,” “It’s Only a Play” and “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” and for writing the books to musicals including “A Man of No Importance,” “The Full Monty” and “Ragtime.”
The foundation was created by Kirdahy. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the foundation aims to support early-career playwrights as well as the LGBTQ+ community.
“Art and activism were central to Terrence’s life. At a time when living as an out gay man came at great professional cost, Terrence wrote and loved fearlessly. Terrence was a truth teller who never wrote in code. His groundbreaking plays and musicals fundamentally shaped the way a generation of Americans talked about LGBTQ+ issues. The Foundation looks forward to supporting playwrights and activists who are risk takers,” shared Kirdahy.
As part of the foundation’s initial efforts, the Terrence McNally New Works Incubator at Rattlestick Theater has been launched. The fully funded incubator provides financial support, mentorship and a one-week workshop and presentation to three emerging playwrights. The submission process is free of cost and open to the public. Sheila Callaghan, Stephen Karam, MJ Kaufman, Donja R. Love, Taylor Mac, Lynn Nottage, Paula Vogel and Chay Yew will be on the selection panel for the inaugural cohort.
In addition, the foundation announced its first efforts in aiding the LGBTQ+ community. McNally, who was born and passed away in Florida, was posthumously awarded Equality Florida’s highest honor, The Voice of Equality Award, in 2021. To help fight back against discriminatory legislation, the foundation made a $25,000 donation to Equality Florida.
The Terrence McNally Foundation consists of a board of directors, including Kirdahy, and is managed by McNally’s former assistant, Santino DeAngelo, who is also responsible for overseeing his legacy.