Tarell Alvin McCraney

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Award-Winning Playwright & Screenwriter, Moonlight

    Writers / Creators
    Diversity & Inclusion
    Inspiring Black Voices

    Tarell Alvin McCraney: Biography at a Glance

    • Won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for “Moonlight” alongside Barry Jenkins
    • “Moonlight” is based on his play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”
    • Known for his acclaimed trilogy, “The Brother/Sister Plays,” which includes “The Brothers Size,” “In the Red and Brown Water” and “Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet”
    • Recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, the Whiting Award, the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Evening Standard Award, The New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Windham Campbell Prize and the Doris Duke Artist Award
    • Named chairman of the playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama, as well as playwright in residence at Yale Repertory Theatre

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    Biography

    Tarell Alvin McCraney is best known for his acclaimed trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays which include The Brothers Size, In the Red and Brown Water and Marcus: Or the Secret of Sweet. Other plays include Head of Passes, Choir Boy and Wig Out!

    Tarell’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is the basis for the Oscar-winning film Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins, for which McCraney and Jenkins also won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. Among its many other honors, the film has won a Golden Globe for Best Drama, Gotham Award for Best Feature, NAACP Image Award for Best Independent Film, WGA Award for Best Original Screenplay, the Human Rights Campaign’s Visionary Arts Award, and 6 Independent Spirit Awards including Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Tarell has also worked on TV and film projects with Playtone, HBO, and Disney.

    Tarell is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, the Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Windham Campbell Award, and a Doris Duke Artist Award. He was the International Writer-in-Residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2008-2010, and a former resident playwright at New Dramatists. He is an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects in Miami.

    Tarell is a graduate from the New World School of the Arts, the Theatre School at DePaul University, and the Yale School of Drama, as well as received an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick. As Professor of Theatre and Civic Engagement at University of Miami, he created a three-year program in partnership with UM, Miami-Dade County and the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center. He was recently named the new Chairman of the Playwriting Department at the Yale School of Drama, as well as Playwright in Residence at Yale Repertory Theater.

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    Tarell was so amazing, so so amazing. He showed up and completely blew us all away. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

    University of California, Berkeley
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