Tarell Alvin McCraney is all over the news. The 29-year-old gay playwright sometimes described as the "heir" to August Wilson's legacy has just become a member of the prestigious Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company. McCraney is also featured in several news profiles this week.
McCraney's critically-acclaimed trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays are currently in performance at the theater. Steppenwolf has also commissioned McCraney to write a new play based on the biblical book of Job, reports TheaterMania. The Brother/Sister trilogy transplants an ancient Yoruba mythology to the modern-day Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina. It premiered at New York's Public Theater—"Too good to be perfect," raved the New York Times"—and London's Young Vic in 2007.
Today: The new issue of New York City's NEXT profiles McCraney as one of theater's new generation of stars:
"McCraney’s experiences as a gay black man are the core of his award-winning shows, most notably last year’s Paris-Is-Burning-as-a-Greek-tragedy, Wig Out!, and this year’s Brother/Sister trilogy. The latter, rumored as a contender for this year’s Pulitzer, has made the Yale School of Drama grad a rising star in the theater. McCraney has also given gay theater some much-welcomed diversity."
On Wednesday: The Detroit News profiled the growing number of black playwrights who, like McCraney, are seeing their work produced by "mainstream, traditionally white theater companies." The newspaper favorably compared the "young, emergent star" to the late August Wilson:
"Like Wilson, the Miami-born McCraney writes about ordinary black people, their hopes and struggles and, above all, their sense of community and the spiritualist legacy that winds back to Africa. But McCraney also parts from Wilson in mirroring his own experiences as a young black, gay man."
Said McCraney when he was named one of The Advocate's "40 Under 40": "I try to hold true to what I know the theater can do and the power of it."
Watch scenes from the Brother/Sister plays and McCraney discuss his work WHEN YOU JUMP ...