Terrence McNally ready for a break after long year

Fri Apr 2, 2010 9:35am EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Terrence McNally slowly shakes his head, clasps his hands together, and admits -- with a trace of apology -- that he's ready to take a breather.

It's not because the playwright is 71 years-old, has writer's block, or needs to take a break because he's been battling lung cancer for nearly a decade.

"This has been an unusually busy year," said McNally, one of America's greatest living writers. "I want to spend some time traveling or sitting under a tree reading a book."

The four-time Tony Award winner has earned the respite, having crisscrossed the country over the last 12 months helping a variety of theater companies produce his plays.

"I'm getting up to here with actors, rehearsals, previews, pressure, critics," he told Reuters backstage at Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center, putting his hand up to his eyes.

"I think it's natural. In the space of less than a year I did a new play in La Jolla called 'Unusual Acts of Devotion.' We tried out a new musical, 'Catch Me If You Can.'

"We did a new play, 'Golden Age.' And then three revivals, 'Lips Together, Teeth Apart' on Broadway,' and 'Master Class' and 'Lisbon Traviata' here at the Kennedy Center.

"That's a lot. And it's not even a full calendar year yet."   Continued...