David Henry Hwang
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
The eldest of three children, Hwang was born to parents of Chinese heritage. He graduated from Stanford University in 1979 and taught high school before enrolling in the Yale School of Drama in 1980. An early play, F.O.B. (an acronym for “fresh off the boat”), garnered the support of Hwang's businessman father, and was eventually produced at the National Playwrights Conference in 1979. The next year, it was produced at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theater, winning an Obie award for best new play of the season. His breakthrough play, M. Butterfly—a complicated story of espionage and mistaken sexual identity—received a Tony Award in 1988 and a Pulitzer Prize in 1989. He has also received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Other plays include The Dance and the Railroad and Family Devotions (1981), Sound and the Beauty (1983), Rich Relations (1986), Face Value (1993), and the critically acclaimed Buried Child, which opened on Broadway in 1998. He has also written screenplays for a number of films including M. Butterfly (1993), Golden Gate (1994), and Possession (2002). He penned the book for the 2006 Disney Broadway musical Tarzan (music and lyrics by Phil Collins).