“The Inheritance,” the sprawling two-part play about gay culture in the wake of the AIDS epidemic, won the Tony Award for best play, making Matthew Lopez the first Latino playwright to win the award.
Inspired by the novel “Howards End” by E.M. Forster, “The Inheritance” began its life in London, where it was a commercial and critical success.
Lopez wrote in The Times, “In writing ‘The Inheritance,’ I wanted to take my favorite novel and retell it in a way that its closeted author never felt free to do in his lifetime. I wanted to write a play that was true to my experience, my philosophy, my heart as a gay man who has enjoyed opportunities that were denied Forster.”
Accepting the award onstage, Lopez said he was indebted to Forster; Terrence McNally, the playwright who died last year of complications from Covid-19 and whom Lopez described as a mentor and the “spiritual godfather” of the play; and Miguel Piñero, the first Puerto Rican playwright to be produced on Broadway.
He also urged the industry to improve its representation of Latino writers.
“We are a vibrant community reflecting a vast array of cultures, experiences and yes, skin tones,” he said. “We have so many stories to tell. They are inside of us aching to come out. Let us tell you our stories.”
Tom Kirdahy, who produced the play and was married to McNally, said, “This award is in loving memory for all the beautiful souls lost to AIDS and Covid, and it’s dedicated to the love of my life, my husband, Terrence McNally.”
The play, which ran more than six hours in two separately sold parts, opened in November 2019 and closed with the pandemic shutdown on March 11, 2020 (it had originally planned to close on March 15).
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