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Legendary Playwright Terrence McNally Dies of Coronavirus Complications

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 01: Terrence McNally attends The 73rd Annual Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Day at Sofitel New York on May 01, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The coronavirus has claimed a legend. Terrace McNally, the Tony Award-winning playwright and librettist, died today in Sarasota, Florida of coronavirus complications.

McNally was 81 years old and a survivor of lung cancer who also suffered from chronic pulmonary disease. Both these conditions put him at a particularly high risk for death from the coronavirus, which attacks the lungs and respiratory system. He is survived by his husband, Tom Kirhardy.

McNally was a giant of the theater world, whose plays and librettos spanned a massive and influential career over six decades. The goal of his work was to create community and connection, despite race, gender, religion, and sexuality. His credits are varied, from Kiss of the Spider Woman to Ragtime, Love! Valor! Compassion! to Mothers and Sons, The Full Monty to Anastasia.

This is a loss that is deeply and painfully felt by the Broadway community, especially given that the lights of Broadway are already dark due to the coronavirus shutdown.

This loss is tragic, especially given that it was preventable if only men like Donald Trump had done more, earlier to prevent and contain the spread of this disease. But no, we are in a country run by a man who apparently thinks the lives of people like Terrence McNally are worth less than the profits of his casinos.

Rest in peace.

(via Deadline, image: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.