Every Act of Life, a new documentary about four-time Tony-winning playwright and librettist Terrence McNally’s five decades in the American theater, is currently in post-production.
“With exclusive, intimate access, this is the first documentary about one of the world’s most honored and risk-taking writers, and an immersive exploration of how to make the third act of life as interesting as the first two,” reads an official description of the film, helmed by Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross.
“Through Mr. McNally’s intimate and adventurous personal journey, the film is a unique inside history of the American theatre; the struggle for LGBT rights; battles with alcohol and cancer; passion, loss, and love; and the continual pursuit of inspiration in life and work.”
Every Act of Life features interviews with and performances by luminaries such as Christine Baranski, Zoe Caldwell, Tyne Daly, Edie Falco, John Glover, John Benjamin Hickey, Larry Kramer, Nathan Lane, Angela Lansbury, Joe Mantello, Audra McDonald, Rita Moreno, Chita Rivera, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci. It also features the voices of Bryan Cranston, Dan Bucatinsky, and Meryl Streep.
The 79-year-old playwright’s work, much of which has explored the gay experience and the AIDS crisis, includes Love! Valour! Compassion! and The Ritz, both of which he adapted into feature films.
“Terrence McNally is one of the first people that I came across as a gay man who was writing about gay people,” says Kinky Boots star Billy Porter in a trailer for the documentary. “We stand on his shoulders.”
McNally stirred up significant controversy in 1997 with his play Corpus Christi, which depicted Jesus and his disciples as gay, and received numerous death threats.
McNally’s other notable plays include Mothers and Sons, The Lisbon Traviata, and Lips Together, Teeth Apart. He also wrote the books for hit Broadway musicals such as Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime, and The Full Monty.
McNally married his partner, Broadway producer Thomas Kirdahy, in 2010. In celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, they renewed their vows in 2015 with Mayor Bill de Blasio officiating.
Every Act of Life has completed filming, and a Kickstarter campaign to help fund post-production costs is in its final days. The project will only be funded if it reaches its goal of $42,000 by November 22.