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David Lindsay-Abaire

David Lindsay-Abaire

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: November 30, 1969 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, David Lindsay-Abaire's work for the stage ran the gamut from serious fare such as the Tony-winning "Rabbit Hole," which dealt with the loss of a child, to the book and lyrics for the cartoonish "Shrek the Musical." Along the way, he also carved an inroad into screenwriting, writing the scripts for "Inkheart" (2007) and the film version of "Rabbit Hole" (2010), which received near-universal praise. Lindsay-Abaire's plays centered around the tension and the laughter that arose from awkward, even absurd situations - in his "Fuddy Mears," a woman's amnesia requires her to rely on her family to tell her what she has done the day before - and found an enthusiastic audience for his unique blend of screwball comedy and drama. His script for "Rabbit Hole" served as a calling card for his inevitable status as one of Hollywood's most in-demand writers.Born David Abaire in South Boston, MA, on Nov. 30, 1969, he was the son of working class parents; his mother was a factory employee, while his father sold produce at a fruit market in the Boston suburb of Chelsea. After a stint in public school, he earned a six-year scholarship to the prestigious Milton Academy prep school,...

A Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, David Lindsay-Abaire's work for the stage ran the gamut from serious fare such as the Tony-winning "Rabbit Hole," which dealt with the loss of a child, to the book and lyrics for the cartoonish "Shrek the Musical." Along the way, he also carved an inroad into screenwriting, writing the scripts for "Inkheart" (2007) and the film version of "Rabbit Hole" (2010), which received near-universal praise. Lindsay-Abaire's plays centered around the tension and the laughter that arose from awkward, even absurd situations - in his "Fuddy Mears," a woman's amnesia requires her to rely on her family to tell her what she has done the day before - and found an enthusiastic audience for his unique blend of screwball comedy and drama. His script for "Rabbit Hole" served as a calling card for his inevitable status as one of Hollywood's most in-demand writers.

Born David Abaire in South Boston, MA, on Nov. 30, 1969, he was the son of working class parents; his mother was a factory employee, while his father sold produce at a fruit market in the Boston suburb of Chelsea. After a stint in public school, he earned a six-year scholarship to the prestigious Milton Academy prep school, where he developed an interest in theater, as well as his unique perspective of being an outsider in an established and alien environment. He wrote some of his earliest plays as part of the school's tradition of staging work by students. Theater became his focus at Sarah Lawrence College, where he met his wife, actress Christine Lindsay, and assumed her surname. From 1996 to 1998, Lindsay-Abaire studied under such established dramatists as Marsha Norman and Christopher Durang as part of a playwriting program at Juilliard.

After graduation, he moved to New York City, where he worked at Dance Theater Workshop while continuing to write plays. Some of his work was eventually produced off-off Broadway before his breakthrough came in 1999 with "Fuddy Mears," a screwball comedy about a woman who, upon waking each morning, discovers she has no memory of the prior day. Owing as much of a debt to the stage comedies of Moss and Hart as to screen legends Preston Sturges and the Marx Brothers, "Fuddy Mirrors" - the title came from a character, left paralyzed by a stroke, who attempted to say "funny mirrors" - was a wildly popular show during its original New York run, and in numerous productions across the United States. It was soon followed by 2000's "Wonders of the World," which starred Sarah Jessica Parker as a woman who flees her imploded marriage to find her way at Niagara Falls. In 2005, he made his debut as a screenwriter with "Robots" (2005), an animated feature for 20th Century Fox that performed modestly well at the box office.

In 2006, Lindsay-Abaire shifted gears with "Rabbit Hole," a drama with comic touches about a mother who learns to contend with the death of her son. A major triumph in the 2006-07 Broadway season, it received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and earned star Cynthia Nixon a Tony Award for her fearless performance as the mother. The success of the play opened doors to major projects for Lindsay-Abaire, including the book for "High Fidelity," a 2006 musical based on the novel by Nick Hornby, and the book and lyrics for "Shrek the Musical" (2008). The former was a disappointment, while the latter netted numerous Tony Award nominations, including a nod to Lindsay-Abaire for Best Book of a Musical.

In 2007, he penned his second screenplay, an adaptation of the fantasy novel "Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke. The film, with Brendan Fraser as a man with the ability to make stories come to life by reading them, was an underwhelming performer in its initial release, but positive international and DVD sales ultimately transformed it into a hit. That same year, he and Gary Ross were hired to provide rewriters of James Vanderbilt's script for "Spider-Man 4;" however, the collapse of the project put an end to Lindsay-Abaire's participation in the series, and Vanderbilt was recalled to write the script for the 2012 reboot. In 2010, Lindsay-Abaire received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for penning the screenplay for John Cameron Mitchell's film version of "Rabbit Hole." The picture, which starred Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, received rave reviews in its limited theatrical release, which expanded to a wider release in January 2011.

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Milestones close milestones

1997:
Wrote the play "A Devil Inside," which opened at the SoHo Repertory Theater
1999:
Had first theatrical success with "Fuddy Meers," which premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club
2000:
Returned to the Manhattan Theatre Club with "Wonder of the World," starring Sarah Jessica Parker
2005:
Contributed to the writing of computer-animated comedy film "Robots"
2006:
Wrote the book for Broadway musical "High Fidelity"
2006:
Produced his play "Rabbit Hole" in New York with Cynthia Nixon, Tyne Daly, and John Slattery; nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play
2008:
Penned the screenplay for fantasy film "Inkheart," starring Brendan Fraser
2008:
Wrote the book and lyrics for "Shrek the Musical" on Broadway
2010:
Wrote screenplay for feature adaptation of his play "Rabbit Hole," helmed by John Cameron Mitchell
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay ("Rabbit Hole")
2011:
Wrote Tony nominated play "Good People," starring Frances McDormand and Tate Donovan
2012:
Wrote screenplay for animated adventure "Rise of the Guardians," based on book by William Joyce
2013:
Co-wrote with Mitchell Kapner fantasy adventure "Oz the Great and Powerful," starring James Franco in title role
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Education

Sarah Lawrence College: Bronxville , New York -
The Juilliard School: New York , New York -
Milton Academy: Milton , Massachusetts -

Notes

"Hollywood's not really about pleasing the writer, so I'll stay in New York and collect that filthy lucre. I guess that's the only way to do this." --David Lindsay-Abaire quoted in New York, October 15, 2001.

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