Jeffrey Daniel Whitty (born September 30, 1971) is an American playwright, actor and screenwriter. For the stage musical Avenue Q, he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. For the film Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), he was nominated for BAFTA and Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, along with Nicole Holofcener.
|Born||Jeffrey Daniel Whitty|
September 30, 1971
Coos Bay, Oregon, U.S.
|Education||University of Oregon (BA)|
New York University (MFA)
|Notable works||Avenue Q, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, Head Over Heels|
|Notable awards||Tony Award for Best Book (2004)|
Early life and educationEdit
Whitty was born September 30, 1971, was raised in Coos Bay, Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1993. He moved to New York City in 1993 and received a master's degree from New York University's Graduate Acting Program in 1997. After two decades in New York he moved to Los Angeles in 2013.
He won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Book of a musical for Avenue Q, written with composers Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, which opened on Broadway in 2003, and continued to a West End run and two national tours as well as dozens of international productions. After six years on Broadway the show moved Off-Broadway, where its run continues. His plays include The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler which was commissioned by and received its world premiere at South Coast Repertory in January, 2006; The Plank Project (a parody of documentary theater pieces like The Laramie Project); the multi-play cycle Balls; The Hiding Place, a romantic Manhattan comedy which received its New York debut at the Atlantic Theater Company; the dark comedy Suicide Weather; and the musical Head Over Heels, based on the music of The Go-Go's, which premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2015.
Whitty is an occasional actor, having appeared in New York productions of plays by Amy Freed, including The Beard of Avon and Freedomland, as well as small roles in the films Garmento, Lisa Picard is Famous, and a cameo in Shortbus. Among his theatrical credits include stints at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, Philadelphia Theatre Company, and Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop in New York City. In 2012 for a 25-performance run he played the title role in his own The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler in a production by New York company Exit, Pursued by a Bear, with Billy Porter playing the co-leading role of Mammy. Both roles had been created for and played by women until this production.
Whitty wrote the libretto to the musical version of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, with music by Jake Shears and John Garden of the musical group Scissor Sisters. The musical was workshopped at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's 2009 National Music Theater Conference. It opened in a limited run at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco on May 18, 2011 and after extending twice closed on July 10. It was directed by Jason Moore and a cast that features Judy Kaye, Betsy Wolfe, Mary Birdsong and Wesley Taylor. Whitty won the 2011 Bay Area Critics Circle award for his work.
Whitty wrote the libretto for Bring It On: The Musical, a "free adaptation" of the popular film series with an original story by Whitty, with music by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda and lyrics by Amanda Green and Miranda. Direction was by Andy Blankenbuehler with music direction by Alex Lacamoire. The musical premiered at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia on January 16, 2011. The musical subsequently went on a multi-city national tour beginning at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles on October 30, 2011. A revised version opened for a limited run at Broadway's St. James Theatre on August 1, 2012 and was nominated for the 2013 Tony Award for Best Musical.
- "Film - Adapted Screenplay in 2019". Awards.BAFTA.org. British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- "NYU Graduate Acting Alumni". 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
- The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler
- Article Entertainment Weekly March 2, 2001
- Hetrick, Adam."'Tales of the City' Musical Will Star Judy Kaye, Betsy Wolfe, Mary Birdsong and Wesley Taylor" Archived 2011-03-21 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, March 18, 2011
- Kenneth Jones Rita Moreno, Jeff Whitty, Seussical, Bill Cain Among Winners in SF Bay Area Critics Awards April 11, 2012 Archived January 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- Variety, September 22, 2009
- Jones, Kenneth; Hetrick, Adam. "Something to Cheer About: Bring It On: The Musical Begins Atlanta Run Jan. 16 After Ice Delay" Archived 2011-02-02 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, January 16, 2011