Generally eclectic in style and subject matter, William Moses Hoffman has been writing for the off-off-Broadway and off-Broadway stage since the 1960s. Critic Rob Baker describes Hoffman’s career before he wrote As Is as “years writing for the wild and often wicked world of Off-Off-Broadway” (181). Hoffman has written librettos, one-act plays, full-length dramas, and television and movie scripts; and he has also written introductions and edited collections of plays, including the first American version of Gay Plays and Robert Patrick’s Untold Decades. Hoffman received the Bachelor of Arts degree from City College in 1960 and has worked as editorial assistant and editor at Barnes and Noble and Hill and Wang.
Despite his activity at the Caffe Cino in the 1960s, La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in the 1970s, and other avant-garde theaters in New York, his only play to make it to Broadway is As Is. Hoffman, best known for the AIDS play As Is and the libretto for The Ghosts of Versailles, was born in New York City on April 12, 1939. He has spent most of his life in New York City working as a playwright and editor.
Both gay and Jewish, Hoffman refuses to be limited by either label. Scripts for his plays are sometimes difficult to acquire and even out of print. This is in keeping with his comment in an interview with Robert DiGaetani that he considers reading plays to be an inferior approach to drama. His work reflects a broad interest in music and opera as well as the serious theater.
Even though Hoffman has written and edited many works, he will probably be remembered mostly for As Is, one of the first plays to deal with the ramifications