Playwright Richard Greenberg's Triple-Play Season Was Nurtured in an Unlikely Workplace

By Jonathan Mandell
24 Mar 2013

Richard Greenberg
Richard Greenberg
Photo by Mark Avery

For playwright Richard Greenberg, represented by Breakfast at Tiffany's, Far From Heaven and The Assembled Parties in the current New York season, the magic of theatre begins at his "office" — a New York City diner.


Richard Greenberg vividly remembers his first trip into New York City, when his parents drove from their Long Island home to the theatre district, passing the marquee for Golden Boy starring Sammy Davis, Jr. "I remember being completely dazzled by the look of it, the rhythm of it," he says. "I have some weird memory of this general goldenness—buildings that advertised butterscotch luminosity. I was probably five years old."

Greenberg moved to the city looking for that luminosity, just as many others have before and since, in real life and in fiction — few more memorable than Holly Golightly, the self-invented New Yorker who lives in a run-down brownstone apartment on the Upper East Side in Truman Capote's 1958 novella "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Greenberg has adapted the story for a play of the same name, starring Emilia Clarke, now at Broadway's Cort Theatre.

If, as E.B. White wrote in his famous essay "Here Is New York," people come to the city "seeking sanctuary or fulfillment or some greater or lesser grail," what many wind up getting is…overworked. Richard Greenberg is a quintessential example. This season, he has three new shows bowing in New York.

"He's the busiest playwright in New York right now," says Lynne Meadow, the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Club, who is directing Greenberg's new play, The Assembled Parties, about the changing lives of a family on the Upper West Side, with a cast that includes Judith Light and Jessica Hecht. The play opens at Broadway's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre April 17 — less than a month after Breakfast at Tiffany's opened. A month after that, the musical theatre adaptation of the 2002 film "Far From Heaven," for which Greenberg wrote the book, begins at Playwrights Horizons. "I'm still writing all of them," he said in March.


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