Playwright Christopher Durang was born on January 2, 1949, in Montclair, NJ. He attended Harvard College and Yale School of Drama.
Durang has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants including a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller, the CBS Playwriting Fellowship, the Lecompte du Nouy Foundation Grant, the Kenyon Festival Theatre Playwriting Prize, and the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Writers Award. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and is co-chair of the playwriting program at Juilliard.
Durang is a master of satire and uses absurdist humor to explore relevant issues that plague everyday life. For example, the protagonist of Baby With the Bathwater is Daisy, a young boy whose parents "decided" that he was a girl when he was born; when he discovers the truth, he must cope with his new identity.
Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, one of Durang's most popular plays, tells the story of a nun who shows off the righteousness of the children she teaches. Soon a group of her former charges - a rape victim, a parent of an illegitimate child, a suicidal alcoholic wife-beater, and a homosexual - appear on the scene, revealing a common loathing for Sister Mary.
A more recent play, Betty's Summer Vacation, starts off sunnily - Betty's on vacation at the beach, and everything seems perfect. But when a serial killer appears on the scene and voices start to emanate from the ceiling, things start to get weird.
Certainly anything but conventional as a playwright, Durang has always defied convention. He graduated high school in 1967 and attended Harvard, where he spent two summers making movies and wrote a musical comedy version of the Christ story, The Greatest Story Ever Sung (for which he and a collaborator were denounced by a professor in the college paper as "two pigs trampling in a sanctuary"). He also wrote The Nature and Purpose of the Universe, a play based on the Book of Job in which Job becomes a radical nun who kidnaps the Pope. The latter got Durang into a highly selective playwriting seminar run by William Alfred.
After graduation, Durang applied to (and was accepted into) Yale's graduate playwriting program, including his "pigs trampling in a sanctuary" letter in his application.
Durang now lives in Bucks County, PA.
Works by Durang:
The Nature and Purpose of the Universe
A History of the American Film (Tony nomination)
Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie award)
The Actor's Nightmare
The Idiots Karamazov
Baby With the Bathwater
The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Obie award)
Betty's Summer Vacation (Drama Desk nomination)
Adrift in Macao
Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge
The Nun Who Shot Liberty Valence
The House of Husbands (with Wendy Wasserstein)
The Adventures of Lola