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Tarell Alvin McCraney. Photo by Jeff Lorch
Tarell Alvin McCraney. Photo by Jeff Lorch

​Chicago Live: The Arts

A Conversation with Tarell Alvin McCraney (BFA, Acting, '03)

Tarell Alvin McCraney is an award-winning writer, producer and actor and he is the current Artistic Director of Geffen Playhouse.

Tarell is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University’s BFA Acting program and the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick.

His script In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue is the basis for the Oscar-winning film Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins, for which McCraney and Jenkins won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Tarell wrote the film High Flying Bird which premiered on Netflix directed by Steven Soderbergh. His plays include MS. BLAKK FOR PRESIDENT, The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy, Head of Passes, Wig Out!, and Choir Boy which was nominated for four Tony Awards. McCraney is the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, the Whiting Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Windham Campbell Award, and a USA Artist Award.

He was recently Co-Chair of Playwriting at the David Geffen School of Drama, where he remains on faculty. He is an associate at the Royal Shakespeare Company, London, an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre Chicago; and a member of Teo Castellanos/D-Projects as well as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.​

Friday, February 23 | 1:00 PM | Watts Theatre