updated 10/01/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/01/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Ted Tally has been winning awards since high school for his one-acters, and now, at 27, his second full-length drama, Terra Nova, is headed for Broadway. Based on Robert F. Scott's 1911-12 Antarctic expedition, the drama premiered at Yale, moved on to L.A.'s Mark Taper Forum and is booked into Washington's Kennedy Center next February. The son of a college librarian father and a junior high English teacher, Tally describes himself as "a real theater rat. I'd push a broom if that was the only thing available." While growing up in Greensboro, N.C., he played Nils in I Remember Mama. He was frankly hurt when the Yale Drama School rejected him as an actor, but relieved to be accepted for his play-writing credits. They included an anti-Vietnam play for the local TV channel and a work about an Indian massacre. He entered grad school, he says, "because I was terrified of the real world," but has now gotten over that. He writes five hours a day in a Manhattan brownstone he shares with wife Melinda Kahn, an art gallery assistant. Tally has already completed a TV movie script for CBS and a new play for Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater. As for art versus box office, Tally comments: "I don't do work that I see only as commercial, but I'm not interested in writing a play that only my eight closest friends will enjoy."