James Magruder is a playwright, translator, and fiction writer, currently represented on Broadway as co-bookwriter on Head Over Heels, the musical mash-up of Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia and the song catalogue of the Go-Go’s. His other translations and adaptations for the stage include Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love (Center Stage, Classic Stage Company, La Jolla Playhouse), the book for its musical version, Triumph of Love (Broadway and beyond, Germany, and Japan), Labiche’s Eating Crow (Dallas Main Street Theatre), Lesage’s Turcaret (Catalyst Theatre), Dancourt’s Knight Errant, Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid (Yale Repertory Theatre), Bougie Man, a version of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme for South Coast Rep, The Miser (Center Stage, Northlight Theatre), Gozzi’s The Love of Three Oranges (La Jolla Playhouse), Christmas Carol 1941 (Arena Stage),The Madwoman of Chaillot (American Conservatory Theatre) and Der Bourgeois Bigwig, a reconstruction of the Molière/Hofmannsthal/Strauss musical comedy for Princeton University. His Three French Comedies (Yale University Press) was named an “Outstanding Literary Translation” by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).
His short fiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Subtropics, The Hopkins Review, Bloom, The Normal School, the anthologies Boy Crazy and New Stories from the Midwest, and elsewhere. His début novel, Sugarless, (University of Wisconsin Press) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and shortlisted for both the 2010 William Saroyan International Writing Prize and the VCU Cabell First Novelists Award. His second and third books of fiction are Let Me See It, a linked story collection (2014), and Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall (2016). Current projects include a musical version of Bertram Cope’s Year with composer Polly Pan; Save Yourself, a novel set in a summer stock theatre; and Staying in the Moment: Yale Rep at 50, a commissioned chronicle of the first fifty years of Yale Repertory Theatre.
He is a four-time fellow of the MacDowell Colony and a six-time recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. His writing has also been supported by Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, the Kenyon Playwrights Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the New Harmony Project, the Ucross Foundation, the Blue Mountain Center, the Jerome Foundation, and the 2010 Sewanee Writers’ Conference, where he was a Walter E. Dakin Fellow in Fiction. He holds degrees in French literature from Cornell and Yale and an M.F.A. and D.F.A. from Yale School of Drama.
He has worked as a dramaturg at Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, South Coast Repertory Theatre, The Stratford Festival in Canada, and on Broadway. He has taught, off and on, at Swarthmore College, Princeton University, the University of Baltimore, and the Yale School of Drama.