McCraney, who grew up in Liberty City, graduated from the high school program at Miami's New World School of the Arts, then majored in acting at Chicago's DePaul University. Last spring, he got his master's degree in play-writing from the Yale School of Drama. And today, he's a busy -- very busy -- working playwright.
Collaborating with Catherine Filloux and Joe Sutton, McCraney co-authored a Hurricane Katrina play called The Breach. After a series of readings, including one at Florida Stage's New Works Festival in early March, it is running now at New Orleans' Southern Repertory Theater, in the glorious city that the hurricane ravaged two years ago. David Cuthbert, theater critic for the Times-Picayune , calls it "...a capacious theatrical canvas encompassing the personal, political and poetic..." and "...a fervent dramatic embrace of our battered city and its people."
Though Cuthbert doesn't delineate which playwright wrote each of the three intertwined stories in The Breach, McCraney's is the one about a black family -- grandfather, grandson, granddaughter -- trapped on the roof by the rising, ravenous water. Cuthbert calls that story the play's most dramatic and complex one, and several times invokes McCraney's imagery and language.
McCraney, however, has already moved on to the next stop in his high-profile, post-grad season. At the moment he's in England, overseeing work on The Brothers Size, which will tour and then play London's Young Vic Nov. 8-Dec. 8. That play, part of a trilogy McCraney calls his "Brother/Sister Plays" (they're inspired by his brothers, his sister and his own life story), gets its official world premiere at New York's Public Theater Oct. 23-Dec. 23. The "Sister" play, In the Red and Brown Water, opens at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre Feb. 1-24, in a production directed by Tina Landau.
It's a fast start to what could become the most successful play-writing career to come out of Miami since Nilo Cruz became a regional theater superstar and then, a Pulitzer Prize winner. Bravo -- the first of many.