James Elliot Lapine (born January 10, 1949) is an American stage director, playwright, screenwriter, and librettist. He has won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical three times, for Into the Woods, Falsettos, and Passion. He has frequently collaborated with Stephen Sondheim and William Finn.
Lapine at the 73rd Annual Peabody Awards
|Born||James Elliot Lapine|
January 10, 1949
Mansfield, Ohio, United States
|Occupation||Stage director, playwright, screenwriter, librettist|
|Alma mater||Franklin and Marshall College (1971)|
|Notable awards||Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1985)|
|Spouse||Sarah Kernochan (1 child)|
Lapine did graduate study in both photography and graphic design at the California Institute of the Arts, where he received an MFA in 1973. He was a photographer, graphic designer, and architectural preservationist and taught design at the Yale School of Drama. At Yale University he wrote an adaptation and directed the Gertrude Stein play Photograph, which was produced Off-Broadway at the Open Space in SoHo in 1977. He proceeded to write and direct Off-Broadway plays and musicals, working with composer William Finn on March of the Falsettos in 1981 as director; the musical won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play. Frank Rich, the New York Times theatre critic, noted "Mr. Lapine's wildly resourceful staging."
In 1982 he was introduced to Stephen Sondheim, and they decided to work on a musical together, which became Sunday in the Park with George, with Lapine writing the book and directing with Sondheim's music and lyrics. It was first produced Off-Broadway in 1983 and then transferred to Broadway in 1984. The pair's next musical was Into the Woods, which premiered on Broadway in 1987. Lapine won both the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Best Book of a Musical. They then collaborated on the musical Passion, for which Lapine wrote the book and directed. The musical ran on Broadway in 1994 and in the West End in 1996, receiving a nomination for the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical and Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, among other awards and nominations. Their latest collaboration is the revue Sondheim on Sondheim, presented on Broadway in 2010 and winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue.
In 1992 Lapine returned to working with William Finn, and wrote the book and directed the Broadway musical Falsettos. Lapine wrote the book, with Finn composing the music, for A New Brain, which premiered Off-Broadway in 1998. They later worked together with Lapine directing Finn's musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which premiered Off-Broadway in 2005 and then transferred to Broadway. The New York Times reviewer wrote of the Spelling Bee Broadway transfer that "Mr. Lapine has sharpened all the musical's elements without betraying its appealing modesty." The latest Finn-Lapine work is Little Miss Sunshine, which premiered in 2011 at the La Jolla Playhouse (California).
Lapine has also directed dramas, including Dirty Blonde, which ran Off-Broadway and on Broadway in 2000. Conceived by Claudia Shear and Lapine and written by Shear with direction by Lapine, Ben Brantley called Lapine's direction "stylish and compassionate." Lapine was nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award, for Best Direction of a Play.
Lapine directed the 2012 Broadway revival of Annie. He wrote a stage adaption of the Moss Hart autobiography, Act One, also titled Act One, which premiered on Broadway at the Lincoln Center Beaumont Theater in April 2014.
Lapine wrote the book for, and directed, a new musical titled Flying Over Sunset. A staged singing/reading was presented at the Vineyard Arts Project (Martha's Vineyard) in August 2015. The composer is Tom Kitt and lyrics are by Michael Korie. The musical will premiere on Broadway in March 2020 in previews. Presented by the Lincoln Center Theater in the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the cast will feature Carmen Cusack, Harry Hadden-Paton, and Tony Yazbeck.
In 1991 he directed his first film, Impromptu, which has a screenplay by his wife, Sarah Kernochan. The story revolves around the romance of George Sand and Chopin, and starred Judy Davis and Hugh Grant. He followed with Life With Mikey with Michael J. Fox for Disney. In 1993 he directed Passion, starring the original Broadway cast, for television. He directed the film version of Anne Tyler's novel Earthly Possessions, starring Susan Sarandon and Stephen Dorff, for HBO in 1999. He wrote the screenplay for Disney's film version of Into the Woods (2014), directed by Rob Marshall. He wrote and directed the film Custody in 2016 with Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
Lapine received the 2015 Mr. Abbott Award at a special gala on October 19, 2015. The award is presented by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation "in recognition of a lifetime of exceptional achievement in the theatre."
Lapine is married to American screenwriter and director Sarah Kernochan. The couple's daughter is food writer Phoebe Lapine. James Lapine's niece Sarna Lapine directed the 2016 concert version (and subsequently, the 2017 Broadway revival) of Sunday in the Park with George, of which James Lapine wrote the book and directed the original production.
- As a director, Lapine has worked on
- Photography of Gertrude Stein (1977)
- Twelve Dreams (1978; 1981; 1995) - 1981 Public Theater
- Table Settings (1979; 1980) - Playwrights Horizons
- March of the Falsettos (1981) - composed by William Finn
- A Midsummer Night's Dream (1982) - written by William Shakespeare
- Sunday in the Park with George (1984) - composed by Stephen Sondheim
- Merrily We Roll Along (1985, La Jolla Playhouse) - composed by Stephen Sondheim
- Into the Woods (1987; 1997; 2002) - composed by Stephen Sondheim
- The Winter's Tale (1989) - written by William Shakespeare
- Falsettoland (1990) - composed by William Finn
- Falsettos (1992; 2016) - composed by William Finn
- Passion (1994) - composed by Stephen Sondheim
- Luck, Pluck, and Virtue (1995) - La Jolla Playhouse and Atlantic Theatre Company
- Golden Child (1996; 1998) - written by David Henry Hwang
- The Diary of Anne Frank (1997) - written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
- Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (1999, original Berlin version) - composed by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
- Dirty Blonde (2000) - written by Claudia Shear
- Amour (2002) - composed by Michel Legrand
- Fran's Bed (2003; 2005) - Long Wharf Theatre; Playwrights Horizons
- Modern Orthodox (2004)
- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2005) - composed by William Finn
- King Lear (2007) - written by William Shakespeare
- Sondheim on Sondheim (2010) - musical revue of Stephen Sondheim work
- Little Miss Sunshine (2011, La Jolla Playhouse; 2013) - composed by William Finn
- Annie (2012) - Music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan
- Act One (2014) - Broadway, Lincoln Center
- Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing (2016) - Signature Theatre (Virginia)
- Flying Over Sunset (2020)
- Writer, musicals
He has written the libretti for the following musicals:
- Sunday in the Park with George - 1984
- Into the Woods - 1987
- Falsettoland - 1990
- Falsettos - 1992
- Passion - 1994
- Luck, Pluck, and Virtue - 1995, La Jolla Playhouse and Atlantic Theatre Company, both starring Neil Patrick Harris
- Der Glöckner von Notre Dame - 1999 (original Berlin version)
- A New Brain (Off-Broadway) - 1999
- Little Miss Sunshine - 2011
- Flying Over Sunset - 2020
- Writer, plays
- Table Settings - 1979 and 1980 at Playwrights Horizons
- Twelve Dreams - 1978; 1981 Public Theater
- The Moment When - 2000, Playwrights Horizons, featuring Mark Ruffalo and Phyllis Newman
- Fran's Bed - 2003, Long Wharf Theatre, starring Mia Farrow; 2005 Playwrights Horizons
- Act One - 2014, Broadway, Lincoln Center
- Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing - 2016, Signature Theatre (Virginia), featuring Debra Monk
For film, he has directed:
- Impromptu (1991) - starring Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters
- Life with Mikey (1993) - starring Michael J. Fox, Cyndi Lauper
- Earthly Possessions (1999, TV) - HBO starring Susan Sarandon, Stephen Dorff
- Six by Sondheim (2013, TV) - HBO documentary on Stephen Sondheim
- Custody (2016) - starring Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Tony Shalhoub and Ellen Burstyn
Awards and nominationsEdit
- "James Lapine Biography (1949-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2014-07-04.
- "Archives and Special Collections, Franklin and Marshall College, James Lapine Collection" FranklinandMarshall.library.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- "Stars Over Broadway, James Lapine" pbs.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- Secrest, p. 326
- Rich, Frank. "Stage: March of the Falsettos,' A Musical Find" The New York Times, April 10, 1981
- "'March of the Falsettos' Listing" Archived 2015-04-15 at the Wayback Machine Internet Off-Broadway DataBase, accessed March 10, 2011
- Secrest, pp. 326-341
- Lawson, Carol. Summer's hottest ticket? How about Sondheim musical? The New York Times (abstract), June 17, 1983
- "'Sunday in the Park with George' Listing" Internet Off-Broadway DataBase, accessed March 10, 2011
- Rich, Frank. "Stage: 'Into the Woods,' From Sondheim" The New York Times, November 6, 1987
- Richards, David."Review/Theater; Sondheim Explores the Heart's Terrain" The New York Times (Books, The New York Times on the Web), May 10, 1994
- "'Passion' Listing, 1994" InternetBroadwayDatabase.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- "Olivier Awards, 1997 Archived 2008-03-15 at the Wayback Machine albemarle-london.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review: 'Sondheim On Sondheim'" The New York Times, April 23, 2010
- Gans, Andrew."'Red', 'Memphis', 'Bridge', 'Fences' and 'La Cage' Win Drama Desk Awards" Archived 2014-03-02 at the Wayback Machine Playbill.com, May 23, 2010
- "'A New Brain', 1998" Archived 2003-07-30 at the Wayback Machine InternetOff-BroadwayDatabase.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- Isherwood, Charles. "Theater Review: Six Misfits Test Wits On Bigger Platform" The New York Times, May 3, 2005
- Jones, Kenneth. "Road Trip! Finn & Lapine's 'Little Miss Sunshine' Musical Begins World-Premiere Run in CA" Archived 2011-02-18 at the Wayback Machine Playbill.com, February 15, 2011
- Brantley, Ben."Theater Review: Smitten by a Goddess, but She's No Angel" The New York Times, January 11, 2000
- "Complete List of 1999-2000 Tony Award Winners" Playbill.com, June 4, 2000
- Gans, Andrew. "Broadway Revival of 'Annie' Finds Its Orphans" Playbill.com, May 15, 2012
- Hetrick, Adam and Gioia, Michael. "'Act One', Stage Adaptation of Moss Hart's Theatrical Memoir, Opens on Broadway April 17" Archived 2014-04-19 at the Wayback Machine Playbill.com, April 17, 2014
- Nadler, Holly. ‘Flying Over Sunset’ lifts off at the Vineyard Arts Project" Martha's Vineyard Times, September 2, 2015
- Clement, Olivia. "Carmen Cusack, Harry Hadden-Paton, and Tony Yazbeck to Lead Cast of New Broadway Musical 'Flying Over Sunset'", Playbill, August 20, 2019
- Maslin, Janet. "Review/Film: Chopin, George Sand, Liszt and Some Others" The New York Times, April 12, 1991
- Tynan, William.Earthly Possessions' TimeMagazine.com, March 22, 1999
- "Earthly Possessions Listing" InternetMovieDatabase.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- Gans, Andrew. "Raul Esparza, Viola Davis, Dan Fogler Cast in James Lapine Film 'Custody' " Playbill.com, April 30, 2015
- "James lapine Receives Lifetime Achievement Award" americantheatre.org, September 30, 2015
- Simoes, Monica. "Pics! Bernadette Peters, Andrew Rannells, Stephen Sondheim and More Honor James Lapine" Playbill, October 20, 2015
- "James Lapine biography". SondheimGuide.com. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
- "Sarah Kernochan biography" TCM.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- "Sarna Lapine directs Sunday in the Park with George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, at NY City Center". Arts.columbia.edu. October 28, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
- "'Twelve Dreams' Listing, 1981" Archived 2011-09-12 at the Wayback Machine InternetOff-BroadwayDatabase.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- Eder, Richard. "'Table Settings,' a Comedy Of a Modern Jewish Family; The Cast" The New York Times, March 24, 1979
- "'Table Settings' Listing, 1979" InternetOff-BroadwayDatabase.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- "'Table Settings' Listing, 1980" InternetOff-BroadwayDatabase.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- Donegan, James. "James Lapine - A Midsummer Nights Dream". jameslapine.com. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
- Canby, Vincent. "Theater Review: A Morality Tale About Everybody's Fall Guy" The New York Times, April 5, 1995
- Klein, Alvin. "Theater Review: She's Taken to Her Bed, But No One's Sure Why" The New York Times, November 9, 2003
- "'Fran's Bed' Listing, 2005" InternetOff-BroadwayDatabase.com, accessed March 10, 2011
- "Mrs Miller Does Her Thing' media gallery, cast, and creative team, 2016" Sigtheatre.org, accessed March 6, 2016
- Weber, Bruce. As Life Fatefully Unspools at a Yada-Yada Cocktail Party" The New York Times, March 22, 2000