Richard Greenberg

For other people named Richard Greenberg, see Richard Greenberg (disambiguation).
Richard Greenberg
Born (1958-02-22) February 22, 1958
East Meadow, New York, U.S.
Occupation Playwright
Nationality American
Education Princeton University
BA, Creative Writing (1980)
Harvard University
English and American Literature (1981)
Yale School of Drama
MFA, Playwriting (1985)
Notable work(s) Eastern Standard (1988)
Three Days of Rain (1998)
Take Me Out (2003)
Awards Tony Award for Best Play
New York Drama Critics Circle Award
Drama Desk Award
Finalist, Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Oppenheimer Award

Richard Greenberg (born February 22, 1958) is an American playwright and television writer known for his subversively humorous depictions of middle-class American life. He has had more than 25 plays premiere on and off-broadway in New York City and eight at the South Coast Repertory Theatre (Costa Mesa, California), including The Violet Hour, Everett Beekin, and Hurrah at Last.[1][2]

Greenberg is perhaps best known for his 2003 Tony Award winning play, Take Me Out about the conflicts that arise after a Major League Baseball player nonchalantly announces to the media that he is gay. The play premiered first in London and ran in New York as the first collaboration between England's Donmar Warehouse and New York's Public Theater.[3] After its Broadway transfer in early 2003, Take Me Out won widespread critical acclaim for Greenberg and numerous prestigious awards.

Background and education

Greenberg grew up in East Meadow, New York, a middle-class Long Island town in Nassau County, east of New York City. His father, Leon Greenberg, was an executive for New York's Century Theaters movie chain and his mother Shirley was a homemaker.[4] Greenberg graduated from East Meadow High School in 1976 and later went on to attend Princeton University, where he graduated magna cum laude.[5] At Princeton, Greenberg studied creative writing under Joyce Carol Oates and roomed with future Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw. He later attended Harvard for graduate work in English and American Literature, but later dropped out of the program when he was accepted to the Yale School of Drama's playwriting program in 1985.[5]


Along with Take Me Out, Greenberg's plays include The Dazzle, The American Plan, Life Under Water, and The Author’s Voice. His adaptation of August Strindberg’s Dance of Death ran on Broadway in 2002, starring Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren and David Strathairn.

He received the George Oppenheimer Award, presented by Newsday in 1985 for The Bloodletters, produced Off-Off Broadway while he was at Yale.[6][7][8] He the first winner of the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a playwright in mid-career in 1998.[9][10]

In 2013, Greenberg worked on three shows: on Broadway, an adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's [11] and The Assembled Parties and the book for the musical Far From Heaven which opened in June 2013 at Playwrights Horizons.[12]

His play Our Mother's Brief Affair premiered at the South Coast Repertory Theatre, Costa Mesa, California in April 2009. Directed by Pam MacKinnon, the cast featured Jenny O'Hara, Matthew Arkin, Arye Gross and Marin Hinkle. This was a commission from South Coast.[13][14] The play opened on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club, on December 28, 2015 (previews), officially on January 20, 2016, starring Linda Lavin.[15][16]

His play The Babylon Line premiered Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on November 10, 2016 in previews, officially on December 5. [17] Directed by Terry Kinney, the cast features Josh Radnor as a writing teacher and Elizabeth Reaser as his student.[18] The play was first performed at New York Stage and Film & Vassar College's Powerhouse Theater in June to July 2014, starring Josh Radnor.[19]


According to The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary American Playwrights, Greenberg's "most prominent" interest is in history "and the past". "He has a pronounced tendency to draw on historical characters or events-the Lost Generation, the Collyer Brothers, the New York Yankees." He also has an intellectual and "witty use of language."[20]

Awards and nominations

The Assembled Parties, 2013 - nominee
Take Me Out, 2003 - winner
Take Me Out, 2003
Three Days of Rain, 1998 - Runner up
The Assembled Parties, 2013 - nominee
Take Me Out, 2003 - winner
Take Me Out, 2003 - winner
The Dazzle, 2002 - nominee

The Dazzle, 2002 Outstanding Off-Broadway Play - winner
John Gassner Award, The Dazzle, 2002 - nominee
Three Days of Rain, 1998 - Finalist
Take Me Out, 2003 - Finalist





  1. "Richard Greenberg (1958-)". Doollee's Complete Guide to the Playwright, Plays, Theatres, and Agents. 2003. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  2. 1 2 Hernandez, Ernio. "South Coast Rep Nabs Another Greenberg World-Premiere Comedy, 'The Injured Party'", December 5, 2007
  3. Brantley, Ben (February 28, 2003). "Theatre Review: Love Affair With Baseball And a Lot of Big Ideas". New York Times. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  4. "Richard Greenberg.". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale Biography In Context. Detroit: Gale. 2006. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  5. 1 2 Witchel, Alex (March 26, 2006). "A Dramatic Shut-In". New York Times Magazine. p. 47. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  6. Bryer, Jackson R. and Hartig, Mary C. "Richard Greenberg" The Facts on File Companion to American Drama, Infobase Publishing, 2010, ISBN 1438129661, p.207
  7. Rich, Frank. "Stage: 'The Bloodletters,' a Comedy" The New York Times, December 7, 1984
  8. Guernsey, Otis L. and Sweet, Jeffrey. "Eastern Standard" The Best Plays of 1988-1989: The Complete Broadway and Off-Broadway Sourcebook Hal Leonard Corporation, 1989, ISBN 1557830568, p. 172
  9. "Richard Greenberg". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  10. Lawrence Van Gelder (May 9, 1998). "Arthur Miller Gets Award From PEN". New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  11. Gans, Andrew. "Broadway's Breakfast at Tiffany's Sets Closing Date", April 15, 2013
  12. McNulty, Charles. "A rich season for playwright Richard Greenberg" Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2013
  13. Jones, Kenneth. "Richard Greenberg's Our Mother's Brief Affair Opens April 10 at South Coast Rep", April 10, 2009
  14. McNulty, Charles. "Review. 'Our Mother's Brief Affair'" Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2009
  15. Clement, Olivia. "'Our Mother's Brief Affair', with Linda Lavin, Begins Previews On Broadway Tonight", December 28, 2015
  16. Viagas, Robert. "Verdict: How Were the Reviews for 'Our Mother's Brief Affair'?, January 20, 2016
  17. The Babylon Line, accessed November 21, 2016
  18. Gordon, David. "Josh Radnor and Elizabeth Reaser to Lead Richard Greenberg's 'The Babylon Line'" TheaterMania, July 21, 2016.
  19. "Powerhouse Season attracts theater, TV stars", May 23, 2014
  20. Innes, Christopher (and others) editor, "Richard Greenberg" The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary American Playwrights (no page number), A&C Black, 2013, ISBN 1408134810
  21. Portantiere, Michael. "The 2001-2002 Outer Critics Circle Award Winners", April 29, 2002
  22. "1998 Literary Award Winners", accessed March 6, 2016
  23. Rich, Frank. "Theater Review. 'Hunger Artist, Kafka in Life and Work" New York Times, February 27, 1987
  24. Rich, Frank. "Theater review. 'The maderati' by Richard Greenberg" New York Times, February 20, 1987
  25. Goodman, Walter. "Theater Review. Of Baseball, the Infinite and Various Kinds of Curves" New York Times, June 16, 1988
  26. Rich, Frank. "Review/Theater; Stylish and Affluent Extra Man With Dark Views and Dark Plot" New York Times, May 20, 1992
  27. Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. 'Night and Her Stars', A Different Take On Quiz Scandals" New York Times, April 27, 1995
  28. Richards, David. "Review/Theater; White Knights and Villains In the Quiz-Show Scandals" New York Times, March 16, 1994
  29. Everett Beekin, accessed December 28, 2015
  30. Oxman, Steve. "Review. Everett Beekin Variety, September 20, 2000
  31. The Dance of Death, accessed January 21, 2016
  32. Simonson, Robert. Death, Where Is Thy Closing? Jan. 13, McKellen and Mirren Dance Away", January 13, 2002
  33. Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. At Home With the Collyer Brothers" New York Times, March 6, 2002
  34. Jones, Kenneth. "Richard Greenberg Crashes Capote's Ball in World Premiere, 'Bal Masque', in Busy Season for D.C.'s Theater J", July 13, 2005
  35. Abarbanel, Jonathan. "Review: 'The Well-Appointed Room', February 8, 2006
  36. Columbus,Curt; Murray, Thomas; Nedved, William. "Richard Greenberg: The Mind Lighting 'The Well-Appointed Room'", 2005-2006, Vol. 2
  37. The House in Town, accessed December 30, 2015
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