David Auburn (born November 30, 1969) is an American playwright. He attended the University of Chicago and received a B.A. degree in English literature. His writing career began when he joined a comedy troupe as an extracurricular activity and began contributing sketches to the group’s repertoire. After graduation, he was offered a writing fellowship by Amblin Productions, a Los Angeles-based company owned by filmmaker Steven Spielberg. After the fellowship ended, he moved on to New York, where he attended the Julliard School’s playwriting program studying under Marsha Norman and Christopher Durang. Auburn’s first full’length play, Skyscraper, ran Off Broadway in 1997.
Auburn is best known for his 2000 play Proof, which won the 2001 Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award for Best New Play, the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Best Play, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Originally produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club on 23 May 2000, it transferred to Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on 24 October 2000. Directed by Daniel J. Sullivan, the production starred Mary-Louise Parker as Catherine, Larry Bryggman as Robert, Ben Shenkman as Hal and Johanna Day as Claire. Later during the Broadway run, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Anne Heche took over the lead role. Josh Hamilton and Neil Patrick Harris subsequently played the role of Hal. Mer-Louise Parker won the Tony Award for her performance.
A 2005 film adaptation was directed by John Madden starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine, along with Anthony Hopkins as Robert, Hope Davis as Claire and Jake Gyllenhaal as Hal.