Nan Knighton received a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical for The Scarlet Pimpernel, for which she also wrote the lyrics to the music of Frank Wildhorn. Pimpernel ran on Broadway for 3 seasons and continues to be produced around the world, including its annual production at the Takarazuka Revue in Japan. In 2019, Pimpernel had a sold-out concert production (full book, lyrics and music) at David Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center.
Knighton wrote the book for Saturday Night Fever for both the West End production in London (Olivier nomination) and its Broadway production. Fever ran for 2 seasons on Broadway and is regularly produced around the world. She wrote book and lyrics for Camille Claudel, which premiered at Goodspeed Opera House’s Norma Terris Theatre. In 2020, a newly vamped Camille was one week away from previews at the Signature Theatre when the pandemic shut down all theatre.
Her play The Portrait Room received its first Industry Reading in 2020 and was also halted in process by Covid. Previously, her play Man With Two Hearts Found on Moon had its first Industry Reading at the Roundabout Theatre with Swoosie Kurtz and Neil Patrick Harris in the leading roles. Her mystery play Bad Dreams is in process, the first reading starring Estelle Parsons and Brian D’arcy James.
Knighton’s lyrics have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center and numerous cabarets including Nan Knighton at 88’s and a sold-out run at Sam’s Dream Street Cabaret- Storybook: The Songs of Nan Knighton. Her song "Gold" (from Camille Claudel) premiered at the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics and her lyrics also appear in Rudolf, which continues to have runs across Europe. Her musical Snapshots (book and lyrics) has been workshopped at Manhattan Theatre Club with music by Howard Marren.
Composers she has worked with include Wildhorn, Marren, Jonathan Larson, and Tim DiPasqua. At the Dramatist Guild’s Fund 2016 gala, Knighton was honored for being one of the 8 lyricists in Great Writers Thank Their Lucky Stars. Other lyricists honored that night included Lin-Manuel Miranda, Stephen Schwartz and Stephen Sondheim.
In film, Knighton co-wrote My Little Girl. Produced by Black Swan/ Merchant Ivory, the film starred James Earl Jones, Mary Stuart Masterson, Geraldine Page, Anne Meara, Peter Gallagher and Jennifer Lopez in her film debut. Knighton’s poetry, essays and photography have all been published and she was writer/ lyricist for the PBS nationally broadcast Consumer Survival Kit. She has served as a judge for both The Kleban Foundation Award and The Young Playwrights Festival. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and alumna of Harvard University. Her M.A. was awarded at Boston University, where she studied for 2 years with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Anne Sexton. Knighton lives in New York and chalks her good fortune up to producer husband John Breglio, as well as Eliza Mason, Nola Heller, Sadie Heller and Max Heller.