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Robert O'Hara

Playwrights Horizons: Bootycandy (writer and director), Bella: An American Tall Tale (director). He has received the NAACP Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two Obie Awards, and the Oppenheimer Award. He directed the world premieres of Nikkole Salter and Danai Gurira’s In the Continuum, Tarell McCraney’s The Brother/Sister Plays (Part 2), Colman Domingo’s Wild With Happy, as well as his own plays, Bootycandy and Insurrection: Holding History. He has also written Zombie: The American (Wooly Mammoth) and Barbecue (The Public Theater).

(as of 10/24/17)


More Reviews


Bootycandy Trailer

It's "big, bold, searing, and sensationally funny" (NY Times)—it's Bootycandy. Robert O'Hara has written/directed a fearless show that's taken New York by storm.


Behind the Booty

If you think the Bootycandy cast is outrageous on stage, wait until you see what goes on BEHIND the booty.


Scene from Bootycandy

What does "bootycandy" really mean? Find out in this excerpt of the opening scene to Robert O'Hara's "sassy and saucy" (NY Post) hit show.


Artist Interview with Robert O'Hara

Robert: I was always writing. I would write dirty stories in high school, and give them to my friends, and they would all pass them around. And my grandmother would always go to flea markets, and I would get these little dime store novels, just awful nasty novels, then Stephen King, and Lawrence Sanders, and Jackie Collins, and I would emulate them. But I didn’t think of it as a profession. I didn’t think of myself as a writer; I just wrote.


Bootycandy Symposium

Bootycandy Symposium, where the writer asks the questions. Moderated by Robert O'Hara, featuring Carmen Neely, Billy Porter, and Yoruba Richen. Fast forward to 8:40 for the beginning of the panel.
Watch live streaming video from newplay at


Tim Sanford on Bootycandy

Robert O’Hara is not widely known as a playwright in New York. He has worked more often as a director. He has had one notable production of a play at the Public and several productions regionally, particularly at the Woolly Mammoth in DC. But as I’ve tracked his work in its various incarnations, including several readings over the years at Playwrights Horizons, I’ve come to admire him as one of the most adventurous playwrights I know.

Playwrights' Perspectives

Robert O'Hara on Bootycandy

My grandmother, Lizzie Bee O'Hara, was known by various names to various people for as long as she was in my life: Bee, Aunt Bee, Lizzie, Lizzie Bee, Mrs. O'Hara, Granny, Sister, Grandmama, Mama. (And a whole host of other names whenever she and my Grandfather cussed each other out. On a daily basis.) They had thirteen children, twelve of whom lived. Granny once told me that she delivered her twins herself “’Cause the fire truck didn’t get here on time.” My mother, Lillie Anne, was her third child and the first girl, and she had me when she was seventeen. Recently, she told me that I was a virgin birth. When I asked her what that meant, she said she didn’t understand how I got here because it was her first time, she was a virgin when she got pregnant with me, and she and my father “really didn’t do nothin’.”


Gay Questions, Black Answers

Surrounding the premiere of Bootycandy at Woolly Mammoth, Robert O’Hara spoke to D.C.’s MetroWeekly about studying theater at Columbia: “At the end of my first semester, at my evaluation, the Chair looked at me and said, ‘Your teachers think you’re a little bit too focused on African-American and gay issues.’ We’re sitting in Harlem. I’m the only black student in the department. I’m the only gay student in the directing program. And you’re going to tell me that I’m too focused on African-American issues and gay issues?”


Dance!!! Dance!!! Dance!!!

As Robert O’Hara’s outrageous episodic odyssey follows its young gay protagonist, Michael Jackson receives more than one passing but reverent shout-out. I spoke with the playwright about his relationship to the King of Pop, and why his presence suffuses O’Hara’s delightfully subversive Bootycandy.