The film examines McNally's groundbreaking work as both playwright and librettist—spanning from Lips Together, Teeth Apart and Master Class to such musicals as Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime—and offers a personal look at McNally’s fight for LGBTQ+ rights, his battle with addiction, and his pursuit of love and inspiration.
Written and directed by Jeff Kaufman, Every Act of Life features interviews with his many collaborators and artists who've brought his work to the stage, including Chita Rivera, Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Broderick, Tyne Daly, F. Murray Abraham, Angela Lansbury, Edie Falco, John Kander, Christine Baranski, Marin Mazzie, Joe Mantello, Doris Roberts, John Benjamin Hickey, Richard Thomas, Roberta Kaplan, Jack O’Brien, Edie Windsor, Paul Libin, Lynne Meadow, John Tillinger, Don Roos, John Glover, Anthony Heald, Jon Robin Baitz, Lynn Ahrens, and Stephen Flaherty.
Productions in Print has also published a companion book, which includes an illustrated screenplay with additional stories and interviews that are not seen in the film, as well as rare photos and archival materials.
McNally, who died March 24 from coronavirus complications, earned Tony Awards for his plays Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion! as well as the books to the musicals Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime. His works also include The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune, Lips Together, Teeth Apart, Deuce, Some Men, Corpus Christi, Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams, The Lisbon Traviata, The Rink, A Man of No Importance, Catch Me If You Can, It's Only a Play, The Visit, and The Full Monty.