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NYS Writers Institute Hosts Pulitzer Prize-Winning Alum Guirgis, March 3 

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 25, 2016) -- 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winner and theatre department alum Stephen Adly Guirgis will visit the University as a guest of the New York State Writers Institute (NYSWI) on Thursday, March 3.

On Thursday, Guirgis will present an informal seminar at 4:15 p.m. in the Recital Hall at the Performing Arts Center (PAC). Later that evening at 8 p.m., the playwright will read from and discuss his work. His most recent visit to campus occurred prior to his Pulitzer on April 12, 2010.

A New York playwright with a taste for marginal characters and raw language, Stephen Adly Guirgis has distinguished himself for years with his often edgy, humorous, and compassionate dramas. Guirgis won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for drama for his play Between Riverside and Crazy. The play also received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play, and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play. The Pulitzer Committee called it “a nuanced, beautifully written play… that uses dark comedy to confront questions of life and death.”      

UAlbany Alumn Stephen Adly Guirgis

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis. (Photo by Monique Carboni)  

After graduating from UAlbany in 1990, Guirgis was recruited by Philip Seymour Hoffman and former classmate John Ortiz to join the non-profit LAByrinth Theater, of which he later became a co-artistic director. His plays, which have been produced both Off-Broadway and on Broadway, and throughout the U.S. and Britain include: In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings, which was one of LAByrinth’s first plays; Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Edinburgh Festival Fringe Award, and Olivier Nomination for London’s Best New Play); The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (named one of the “10 best” plays by Time Magazine & Entertainment Weekly); and Our Lady of 121st Street, which Variety said, “confirms Guirgis [as] an exciting talent with a gift for raw but rich dialogue and an entertaining ability to find the absurd humor in emotional extremis.” His play The Motherf***er with the Hat, directed on Broadway by Anna D. Shapiro, received six Tony nominations, including Best Play.

Guirgis has received the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Yale Wyndham-Campbell Prize, a PEN/Laura Pels Award, and a TCG fellowship. As an actor, he has appeared in theater, film and television, including roles in Kenneth Lonergan’s film Margaret, Todd Solondz’s Palindromes, and Brett C. Leonard’s Jailbait opposite Michael Pitt. His screenwriting credits have included TV shows such as NYPD Blue and The Sopranos. Guirgis is currently collaborating with Academy Award-nominated director Baz Luhrmann on a television series about the birth of the hip-hop era in New York City.

Free and open to the public, the events are sponsored by NYSWI in conjunction with the department-wide reading project of the English Department. For additional information, visit the New York State Writers Institute’s Facebook page, email the Institute at writers@albany.edu , or call (518) 442-5620.

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