WILLIAM M. HOFFMAN, a playwright, was born in New York City on this date (d: 2017). Hoffman’s earliest works either were mounted in small, experimental off-off-Broadway theaters in New York City.
He achieved critical acclaim and public recognition in 1985 when the Broadway production of his play, As Is, one of the first plays to focus on AIDS, opened in New York City at the Lyceum Theater, where it ran for 285 performances. Hoffman won a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play (1985) and an Obie (1984-85 for Playwriting) and nominations for a tony Award for Best Play (1985). The following year, he adapted the work for a television production directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
In 1991, Hoffman was commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera to write the libretto for The Ghosts of Versailles first produced in celebration of the company’s centennial. A 1993-televised production starred Teresa Stratas, Renee Fleming and Graham Clark for which Hoffman earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
As an editor at Hill and Wang, Hoffman promoted the careers of Lanford Wilson, Tom Eyen, and Joe Orton, among others, by including their plays in either his New American Plays series or his anthology, Gay Plays: A First Collection. Hoffman was an Associate Professor of Theater at Lehman College at The City University of New York.
Hoffman died of a heart attack in April 2017 just seventeen days after his birth date.