James Lapine is a playwright and director who got his start by directing a Gertrude Stein play, Photograph, while teaching a course in advertising design at Yale University. The play was presented in New Haven and came to the attention of director and MacDowell Fellow Lee Breuer, who helped arrange for a small performance space in Soho to present the work for three weeks. The production was enthusiastically received and won Lapine an Obie award.
Over his six residencies, Lapine researched his production of King Lear, worked with Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik on the musical version of The Nightingale, and worked on a screenplay adaptation of his play The Moment When.
Most recently, Lapine directed the 2012 Broadway revival of Annie. He co-produced and directed the HBO documentary Six By Sondheim, which aired in December 2013. In the Spring of 2014 Lincoln Center Theater produced his stage adaptation of the Moss Hart memoir, Act One. Lapine has also directed several productions off-Broadway as well as three films and wrote the screenplay for a film version of Into the Woods for director Rob Marshall that will be released at Christmas 2014. He is the recipient of three Tony Awards, five Drama Desk Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame.
Lapine was born in Mansfield, Ohio, and majored in history at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He went on to get an MFA in design from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.