Terrence McNally to Be Honored With Live Reading of 'Lips Together, Teeth Apart'

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Terrence McNally

The playwright died March 24 at 81 due to complications from the novel coronavirus.

It was announced on Tuesday that Broadway.com, along with producers Eric Kuhn and Justin Mikita, will present a live reading of Terrence McNally's 1991 play Lips Together, Teeth Apart, set for April 6.

The live stream will benefit the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund in honor of McNally, who died March 24 due to complications from the novel coronavirus. Viewers will be able to watch on Broadway.com, as well as on its YouTube and Facebook pages.

The latest iteration of Lips Together, Teeth Apart, directed by Trip Cullman, will star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Zachary Quinto, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Ari Graynor. The play, considered by many to be one of McNally's best works, follows two straight couples visiting the Fire Island home of a relative who died in the HIV/AIDS pandemic of the late 1980s and early '90s.

The play ran for more than a year off-Broadway in its original production, which starred Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, Swoosie Kurtz and Anthony Heald. 

"Terrence used his work to make seemingly insurmountable societal issues seem surmountable through his belief in our unwavering human spirit," said Tom Kirdahy, the husband of the late McNally and a member of the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Board of Trustees. "Seeing Terrence’s rage, humor, love, and empathy in the face of a virus feels right during this time."

Added producers Kuhn and Mikita: "Theater has always been about bringing people together. For our first live-stream play reading, we couldn't think of a playwright that represented that more than Terrence. In these uncertain times we are thrilled to partner with Broadway Cares and provide audiences some moments of relief."

Broadway.com was also behind the March 22 live stream return of The Rosie O'Donnell Show, which raised nearly $700,000 for The Actors' Fund. The Broadway community has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, which has forced many performers and behind-the-scenes workers out of jobs since all of New York's Broadway theaters have shuttered to help keep the coronavirus from spreading.

McNally was an admired Tony-winning playwright and librettist who was known for other productions such as Kiss of the Spider-WomanMaster ClassRagtime and Love! Valour! Compassion!.

McNally battled lung cancer since the late 1990s, and the disease cost him portions of both lungs. He had lived with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ever since. McNally died March 24 at a hospital in Sarasota, Florida, not long after testing positive for the coronavirus.