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Times wigs out over McCraney

Port26_mccrny_trop_jml Adding to his rep as one of America's hottest young playwrights, Miami's Tarell Alvin McCraney just scored a major rave from Ben Brantley, the New York Times' lead theater critic. 

Though Charles Isherwood usually covers major Off-Broadway productions for the Times, it was Brantley who made the trek downtown to the Vineyard Theatre to see Wig Out!, McCraney's play about the glamor "girls" who find family and identity as members of two highly competitive drag houses.


McCraney, who grew up in Liberty City, graduated from New World School of the Arts, DePaul University and the play-writing master's degree program at Yale.  He was inspired to write Wig Out!, he has said, by men from that world whom he met in Miami.  He also worked on the script when he participated in the Sundance playwrights' program.

Brantley's glowing review of a play that is set to close Oct. 19 will certainly inspire transfer talk.  When you have the Times' lead critic writing things like "the astonishing young dramatist Tarell Alvin McCraney," and finding "...reverberant echoes of Homer, Milton, the Bible, Shakespeare, vintage Hollywood and homespun American melodrama" -- well, that spells golden future for both the play and the playwright. 

And this just in Oct. 2:  Wig Out! will now be at the Vineyard through Nov. 2.  And don't be surprised if transfer news follows.

Not that Wig Out! will be McCraney's only presence in the New York area this season.  Princeton's McCarter Theatre, a short train ride away from Manhattan, will be running all three of McCraney's Brother/Sister Plays (In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet) in repertory May 7-June 14 (Red and Brown begins its run earlier, on April 17).

McCraney is, clearly, one of the most talented and promising playwrights ever to come out of Miami. And here, we're still waiting to see his work.

(McCraney photo by Jared Lazarus; Wig Out! photo by Carol Rosegg)