Lanford Wilson was the author of Balm in Gilead, The Rimers of Eldritch, The Gingham Dog, Lemon Sky, Serenading Louie, The Hot L Baltimore, The Mound Builders, Angels Fall, Burn This, Redwood Curtain, Trinity, 5th of July, Talley & Son, Talley’s Folly, Book Of Days, Rain Dance and some twenty produced one act plays including Brontosaurus, The Great Nebula in Orion and the paired A Poster Of The Cosmos and The Moonshot Tape. For television: Taxi! (no relation to the series) and The Migrants, from a story by Tennessee Williams. He also wrote the libretto for Lee Hoiby’s opera of Williams’ Summer and Smoke and a new translation of Chekov’s Three Sisters.
By The Sea, By The Sea, By The Beautiful Sea (of which he wrote one of the three plays) premiered at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York in 1995 and was later done at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City in 1996.
His play, Virgil Is Still The Frogboy (Now entitled A Sense Of Place), was produced by the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, New York, in August and September, 1996. His play Sympathetic Magic was produced by Second Stage in March of 1997. His play Book Of Days was commissioned by the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan, where it opened in April 1998.
Awards include the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award in Theatre Arts, The Institute of Arts and Letters Award, The Edward Albee Last Frontier Award, The John Steinbeck Award, The Drama-Logue Award (Los Angeles) for Talley’s Folly and5th of July, two New York Drama Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Play (Talley’s Folly and Hot L), 2 Obie Awards for Best Play (Hot L and The Mound Builders), an Obie Award for Sustained Achievement, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Talley’s Folly).
Wilson was a founder (with Tanya Berezin, Rob Thirkield and Marshall W. Mason) of The Circle Repertory Company in New York City and was a resident playwright there from 1969-1995. He was a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and made his home in Sag Harbor since 1970. He died on March 24, 2011.