Tarell Alvin McCraney
McCraney in 2017
McCraney in 2017
Born (1980-10-17) October 17, 1980 (age 43)
Liberty City, Florida, U.S.
  • Playwright
  • actor
Notable awards

Tarell Alvin McCraney (born October 17, 1980) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and actor. He is the chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama and a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble.

He co-wrote the 2016 film Moonlight, based on his own play, for which he received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2019 film High Flying Bird and 2019 television series David Makes Man.

Early life and education

A reading at Elliott Bay Books, Seattle, Washington, co-presented with the Seattle Repertory Theatre, in association with Seattle Rep's staging of The Breach, a play based on Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. At right, New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose, author of 1 Dead in Attic. To his right are Tarell Alvin McCraney, Catherine Filloux, and Joe Sutton, co-authors of The Breach.

McCraney was born in Liberty City, Florida. He attended the New World School of the Arts (NWSA) in Miami, Florida. While attending NWSA, he also applied to and was awarded an honorable mention by the National YoungArts Foundation (1999, Theater). As a teenager, he was a member of an improv troupe directed by Teo Castellanos.[1]

He matriculated into The Theatre School at DePaul University and received his BFA in acting. In May 2007 he graduated from Yale School of Drama's playwriting program,[2] receiving the Cole Porter Playwriting Award upon graduation. He also is an Honorary Warwick University Graduate.


As an actor, he has worked with directors such as Tina Landau of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago, Illinois, David Cromer, and B. J. Jones, artistic director of the Northlight Theatre (where McCraney co-starred in the Chicago premiere of Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange), and developed a working relationship with Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne of the Bouffes du Nord, Paris.[3] He is a member of the D Projects Theater Company in Miami.[1]

From 2008 to 2010, he was the RSC/Warwick International Playwright in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company.[4] In April 2010, McCraney became the 43rd member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble.[5] In July 2017, he became the chair of playwriting at the Yale School of Drama.[2][6]




Personal life

McCraney is gay.[16]



The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy

Main article: The Brother/Sister Plays

Other plays

In the summer of 2006, McCraney, Catherine Filloux and Joe Sutton wrote The Breach, a play on Katrina, the Gulf, and American society, commissioned by Southern Rep in New Orleans, where it premiered in August 2007 to mark the second anniversary of the tragedy in New Orleans. The Breach also played at Seattle Rep in the winter of 2007.

Other projects

Forthcoming projects

Commissions for the Donmar Warehouse and Berkeley Rep.[citation needed]

Awards and honors


  1. ^ a b c McNulty, Charles (2014-08-29). "Rising playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney takes his own, wary path to L.A." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  2. ^ a b Kalb, Peggy (2017). "From Yale, to Yale: Moonlight author joins drama school". Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  3. ^ "TDF Stages: Still Making Provocative Theatre After Seven Decades". www.tdf.org. Retrieved 2022-07-20.
  4. ^ "Tarell Alvin McCraney". Warwick: The Capital Centre. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  5. ^ Steppenwolf Theatre Company (May 16, 2010). "Tarell Alvin McCraney - The 43rd Member of Steppenwolf's Ensemble". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12.
  6. ^ "Tarell Alvin McCraney". Yale School of Drama. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  7. ^ "The Brother/Sister Plays". Steppenwolf. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Choir Boy - Royal Court". Royal Court Theatre. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  9. ^ "The Tony Award Nominations". Tony Awards. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  10. ^ "Ms. Blakk For President". Steppenwolf. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Tarell Alvin McCraney - Biography". Steppenwolf. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  12. ^ "David Makes Man on OWN". TV Series Finale. 25 August 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  13. ^ Mistry, Anupa. "Tarell Alvin McCraney's Play Got Shelved. Then It Inspired The Year's Best Film, Moonlight". Fader. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  14. ^ "Moonlight (2016)". IMDb. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  15. ^ "High Flying Bird (2019)". IMDb. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  16. ^ "Moonlight's Tarell Alvin McCraney: 'I never had a coming out moment'". The Guardian. October 21, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  17. ^ "Moonlight's Tarell Alvin McCraney on Why He Wrote a Movie About the NBA Lockout". 30 January 2019.
  18. ^ Allen, Dan (20 October 2016). "Tarell Alvin McCraney: The Man Who Lived 'Moonlight'". NBC Out. NBC. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  19. ^ Dickson, Andrew, (November 15, 2013), "Antony and Cleopatra – review", The Guardian. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  20. ^ Hernandez, Ernio. "The Brothers Size Scribe Wins First Annual Paula Vogel Playwriting Award". Playbill. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  21. ^ "About Tarell Alvin McCraney". The Brother/Sister Plays. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
  22. ^ Baker, Dorie (March 4, 2013). "Yale awards $1.35 million to nine writers". YaleNews. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  23. ^ Dolen, Christine, "Miami playwright McCraney wins $625,000 MacArthur Fellowship", Miami Herald, September 25, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  24. ^ "Tarell McCraney". www.macfound.org. MacArthur Foundation. 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
  25. ^ "Congrats (again)! Tarell McCraney wins Doris Duke Performing Artist Award". Windham Campbell. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  26. ^ "40 Under 40: The Class of 2019." (Connecticut Magazine) (January 23, 2019) Retrieved March 5, 2019.

Further reading