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James Lapine

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James Lapine

Sarah Kernochan

Phoebe Lapine

James Lapine The 68th Annual Tony Awards Arrivals Picture 42

James Elliot Lapine January 10, 1949 (age 75) Mansfield, Ohio, United States (

Alma mater
Franklin and Marshall College (1971)

Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1985)

Stage Director ·

Into the Woods, Impromptu, Six By Sondheim, Custody, Life with Mikey, Earthly Possessions, Passion

David Sanford Lapine, Lillian Feld

Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with Geor, Falsettos, Act One, Sondheim on Sondheim

Similar People
Stephen Sondheim, Rob Marshall, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, William Finn

Falsettos medley william finn and james lapine

James Elliot Lapine (born January 10, 1949) is an American stage director, playwright, screenwriter, and librettist. He has won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical three times, for Into the Woods, Falsettos, and Passion. He has frequently collaborated with Stephen Sondheim and William Finn.


James Lapine James Lapine on Turning 39Into the Woods39 Into a Film Variety

James lapine six by sondheim 2013 peabody award acceptance speech

Early life

James Lapine imagesplaybillcomphotolalapine200jpg

Lapine was born in Mansfield, Ohio, the son of Lillian (Feld) and David Sanford Lapine. He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1971.


James Lapine James Lapine Wikipedia

Lapine did graduate study in both photography and graphic design at the California Institute of the Arts, where he received an MFA in 1973. He was a photographer, graphic designer, and architectural preservationist and taught design at the Yale School of Drama. At Yale University he wrote an adaptation and directed the Gertrude Stein play Photograph, which was produced Off-Broadway at the Open Space in SoHo in 1977. He proceeded to write and direct Off-Broadway plays and musicals, working with composer William Finn on March of the Falsettos in 1981 as director; the musical won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Play. Frank Rich, the New York Times theatre critic, noted "Mr. Lapine's wildly resourceful staging."

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In 1982 he was introduced to Stephen Sondheim, and they decided to work on a musical together, which became Sunday in the Park With George, with Lapine writing the book and directing with Sondheim's music and lyrics. It was first produced Off-Broadway in 1983 and then transferred to Broadway in 1984. The pair's next musical was Into the Woods, which premiered on Broadway in 1987. Lapine won both the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award, Best Book of a Musical. They then collaborated on the musical Passion, for which Lapine wrote the book and directed. The musical ran on Broadway in 1994 and in the West End in 1996, receiving a nomination for the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical and Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, among other awards and nominations. Their latest collaboration is the revue Sondheim on Sondheim, presented on Broadway in 2010 and winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue.

In 1992 Lapine returned to working with William Finn, and wrote the book and directed the Broadway musical Falsettos. Lapine wrote the book, with Finn composing the music, for A New Brain, which premiered Off-Broadway in 1998. They later worked together with Lapine directing Finn's musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which premiered Off-Broadway in 2005 and then transferred to Broadway. The New York Times reviewer wrote of the Spelling Bee Broadway transfer that "Mr. Lapine has sharpened all the musical's elements without betraying its appealing modesty." The latest Finn-Lapine work is Little Miss Sunshine, which premiered in 2011 at the La Jolla Playhouse (California).

Lapine has also directed dramas, including Dirty Blonde, which ran Off-Broadway and on Broadway in 2000. Conceived by Claudia Shear and Lapine and written by Shear with direction by Lapine, Ben Brantley called Lapine's direction "stylish and compassionate." Lapine was nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award, for Best Direction of a Play.

Lapine directed the 2012 Broadway revival of Annie. He wrote a stage adaption of the Moss Hart autobiography, Act One, also titled Act One, which premiered on Broadway at the Lincoln Center Beaumont Theater in April 2014.

In 1991 he directed his first film, Impromptu, which has a screenplay by his wife, Sarah Kernochan. The story revolves around the romance of George Sand and Chopin, and starred Judy Davis and Hugh Grant. He followed with Life With Mikey with Michael J. Fox for Disney. In 1993 he directed Passion, starring the original Broadway cast, for television. He directed the film version of Anne Tyler's novel Earthly Possessions, starring Susan Sarandon and Stephen Dorff, for HBO in 1999. He wrote the screenplay for Disney's film version of Into the Woods (2014), directed by Rob Marshall. He wrote and directed the film Custody in 2016 with Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere and Catalina Sandino Moreno.

Lapine received the 2015 Mr. Abbott Award at a special gala on October 19, 2015. The award is presented by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation "in recognition of a lifetime of exceptional achievement in the theatre."

Personal life

Lapine is married to American screenwriter/director Sarah Kernochan. The couple's daughter is food writer Phoebe Lapine. James Lapine's niece Sarna Lapine directed the 2016 concert version (and subsequently, the 2017 Broadway revival) of Sunday in the Park with George, of which James Lapine wrote the book and directed the original production.


As a director, Lapine has worked on
  • Photography of Gertrude Stein (1977)
  • March of the Falsettos (1981) - composed by William Finn
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (1982) - written by William Shakespeare
  • Sunday in the Park with George (1984) - composed by Stephen Sondheim
  • Merrily We Roll Along (1985, La Jolla Playhouse)- composed by Stephen Sondheim
  • Into the Woods (1987) - composed by Stephen Sondheim
  • Falsettos (1992) - composed by William Finn
  • Passion (1994) - composed by Stephen Sondheim
  • Into the Woods (revival) - 1997
  • The Diary of Anne Frank (1997) - written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
  • Golden Child (1998) - written by David Henry Hwang
  • Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (1999, original Berlin version) - composed by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
  • Dirty Blonde (2000) - written by Claudia Shear
  • Into the Woods (revival) - 2002
  • Amour (2002) - composed by Michel Legrand
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2005) - composed by William Finn
  • Sondheim on Sondheim (2010) - musical revue of Stephen Sondheim work
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2011, La Jolla Playhouse) - also wrote the book; composed by William Finn
  • Annie (revival) - 2012- Music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan
  • Falsettos (revival) - 2016 - composed by William Finn
  • Writer, musicals

    He has written the libretti for the following musicals:

  • Sunday in the Park with George - 1984
  • Into the Woods - 1987
  • Falsettos - 1992
  • Passion - 1994
  • Luck, Pluck, and Virtue (also director) - 1995, La Jolla Playhouse and Atlantic Theatre Company, both starring Neil Patrick Harris
  • Der Glöckner von Notre Dame - 1999 (original Berlin version)
  • A New Brain (Off-Broadway) - 1999
  • Writer, plays
  • Table Settings (also director) - 1979 and 1980 at Playwrights Horizons
  • Twelve Dreams (also director) - 1978; 1981 Public Theater
  • The Moment When - 2000, Playwrights Horizons, featuring Mark Ruffalo and Phyllis Newman
  • Fran's Bed (also director) - 2003, Long Wharf Theatre, starring Mia Farrow; 2005 Playwrights Horizons
  • Act One (also director) - 2014, Broadway, Lincoln Center
  • Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing (also director) - 2016, Signature Theatre (Virginia), featuring Debra Monk
  • Film

    For film, he has directed:

  • Custody (2016) - starring Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Tony Shalhoub and Ellen Burstyn
  • Six by Sondheim (2013, TV) HBO documentary on Stephen Sondheim
  • Earthly Possessions (1999, TV) - HBO starring Susan Sarandon, Stephen Dorff
  • Life with Mikey (1993) - starring Michael J. Fox, Cyndi Lauper
  • Impromptu (1991) - starring Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters
  • References

    James Lapine Wikipedia

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