Saturday, June 15, 2019

Terrence McNally on PBS

Running NYCPlaywrights you sometimes get a heads-up that you might not otherwise. This past week someone from PBS reached out to me to ask if I could help promote, on the NYCPlaywrights web site, the PBS "American Masters" episode on Terrence McNally, which is currently running in free streaming mode. I said I would.

I watched it. I hadn't been aware that McNally had had  romantic relationships with both Edward Albee and Wendy Wasserstein, which are discussed in the PBS piece.

I was aware that McNally had a relationship with Gary Bonasorte, because I met Bonasorte while they were an item, and in fact not too long before Bonasorte died. I was briefly involved with Rattlestick Theater in 1999, which Bonasorte had founded in 1994. I created an early version of their web site interface, which can still be found via the Wayback Machine, which I present here. 

It's pretty interesting now to see the names listed on the advisory board and Board of Directors. Although I had been writing plays since 1992, by 1999 I still had little knowledge of theater history so names like Marsha Norman and Joe Mantello and even Terrence McNally meant nothing to me at the time I was posting them on the web site. 

Neither did the name Abigail Disney, whom I don't remember ever hearing about before I friended her on Twitter because of her very cool left-of-center views.

It was thanks to this Rattlestick connection that I met a guy who was crashing at Edward Albee's apartment (while Albee was vacationing on Montauk) and thus have my stories about Edward Albee's apartment, which I have mentioned on this blog before.

I met Bonasorte but I didn't exactly hang out with him. I had one conversation with him but I remember it pretty clearly because it was along the lines of "aren't men exasperating" and I found Bonasorte very sweet and relatable.

I would later find out who Joe Mantello was when I was sued over my tiny little off-off Broadway play TAM LIN  and Mantello's lawsuit against a theater for using the set, as described in the published version of LOVE! VALOR! COMPASSION!, was used to justify the lawsuit against my former partner and I by the litigants, even though the Mantello case was settled outside of court and therefore legally useless as a precedent.

Mantello makes an appearance in the McNally PBS show, but they don't mention the lawsuit.

I haven't done much theater lately - those of us who have to make a living can't depend on theater, which will soon become exclusively, I fear, a hobby of those with trust funds. Although I do have several plays percolating in my mind, and will probably do readings of them soon. And of course I do NYCPlaywrights ever week.

But lately I've been spending my time on my Pinkerite web site.