Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney is one of 24 winners of 2013 fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. These so-called “genius” grants come with a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 paid over five years.
The MacArthur Foundation website describes the 32-year-old McCraney as “a playwright exploring the rich diversity of the African American experience in works that imbue the lives of ordinary people with epic significance. Complementing his poetic, intimate language with a musical sensibility and rhythmic, often ritualistic movement, McCraney transforms intentionally minimalist stages into worlds marked by metaphor and imagery.”
McCraney is best known for The Brother/Sister Plays, a trio of works produced in New York by the Public Theater. The off-Broadway premiere of his play Choir Boy received rave reviews this summer at Manhattan Theatre Club. Another play, Head of Passes, debuted in April at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, where McCraney is an ensemble member. He is also the author of Wig Out! and American Trade.
The majority of MacArthur fellows are drawn from scientific fields. Other winners from the arts include choreographer Kyle Abraham and novelist Karen Russell.