• F&M students meet  with Kenneth Lonergan and James Lapine ’71 (center) in New York City in March 2018. F&M students meet with Kenneth Lonergan and James Lapine ’71 (center) in New York City in March 2018. Image Credit: Eric Forberger

Award-Winning Playwright and Director

James E. Lapine ’71 is an award-winning director, playwright and screenwriter. He has been nominated for 12 Tony Awards, winning on three occasions, and has received five Drama Desk Awards and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and in 2015 was the recipient of the Mr. Abbott Award presented by the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers for a lifetime of exceptional achievement in the theatre.

Lapine was born in Mansfield, Ohio, and lived there until his early teens when his family moved to Stamford, Conn. He majored in history at Franklin & Marshall and went on to earn an MFA in design from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, Calif.

He taught design at the Yale School of Drama, where his students urged him to direct the Gertrude Stein play "Photograph." The production was enthusiastically received by The New York Times and won an Obie award. Lapine eventually left the visual arts for a career in the theatre. He has written and directed the plays "Table Settings," "Luck, Pluck and Virtue," "The Moment When," "Fran's Bed," and "Act One," a stage adaptation of the famous Moss Hart autobiography.

On Broadway, Lapine has written the book for and directed Stephen Sondheim’s "Sunday in the Park with George," "Into the Woods," "Passion,"  and the multi-media revue "Sondheim on Sondheim." Among his many off-Broadway offerings were three Shakespeare productions for the Public Theatre.

Lapine is a member of the Dramatist Guild Council and for the last sixteen years has been a mentor for TDF's Open Doors Program. He currently divides his time between New York City and Martha’s Vineyard.

More about James:

The Lapine Endowment at F&M

The James Lapine Collection from F&M Libraries

Complete list of awards at Broadway World