Thomas Meehan (Thomas Edward Meehan)

Thomas Meehan

Thomas Meehan moved to New York at age 24, and worked at The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town”. In 1972, Meehan was asked to work on a musical based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. At first, Meehan was skeptical to accept the offer, but eventually accepted the offer after reading the strip. Meehan wrote Annie with Charles Strouse, who wrote the music. The production took five years to get to Broadway. Once the musical ran in 1977, it ran for 2,377 performances. Additional credits include Ain’t Broadway Grand; Oh, Kay!; Bombay Dreams, a musical adaptation of I Remember Mama; and Annie 2: Miss Hannigan’s Revenge, which was subsequently reworked and re-staged Off-Broadway as Annie Warbucks. He also wrote the libretto to the opera 1984. In addition, Meehan is a long-time contributor of humor to The New Yorker; an Emmy Award-winning writer of television comedy; and a collaborator on a number of screenplays, including Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs; a remake of To Be or Not to Be; and One Magic Christmas.Thomas Meehan went on to work with Brooks on other projects on Broadway perhaps the most notable of their adaptation was The Producers, based on the 1967 film. The show became a Broadway hit that dominated the 2001 Tony Awards and ran for more than 2,500 performances.

Thomas Meehan followed that with Hairspray, an adaptation based of John Waters’s 1988 film of the same name. It opened in 2002 and ran for 2,642 performances. He co-wrote the book, with Bob Martin, for Elf the Musical. He co-wrote the book for the production of the musical Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin which ran at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2010 and premiered on Broadway in 2012. In 2011 he revised the book originally written by Peter Stone for the Off-Broadway musical Death Takes a Holiday with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. In 2012, Meehan wrote the book from the original screenplay by Sylvester Stallone for the musical Rocky. The show premiered in Hamburg in 2012, before transferring to Broadway in 2014. Thomas Meehan held the distinction of being the only writer to have written three Broadway shows that ran for more than 2,000 performances. Reflecting on his work in an interview with The New York Observer in 1999, Meehan said “I wrote stories that were serious, very somber, trying to be in the style of William Faulkner. My career has always been that every time I try something really serious, it’s no good, but if I try to be funny, then it works”. Meehan died on August 21, 2017, at his home in Manhattan, New York City, at the age of 88. The cause was cancer.


  • August, 14, 1929
  • USA
  • Ossining, New York


  • August, 21, 2017
  • USA
  • Manhattan, New York

Cause of Death

  • cancer

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