Marcus is a poet-playwright whom The New Yorker describes as “the heir to Garcia Lorca, Pirandello and Tennessee Williams.” His most recent play X or the Nation v Betty Shabazz was a New York Times Critic Pick and was remounted off-Broadway in the Spring of 2018. Also in 2019, he will be named the Library Laureate of San Francisco by the city’s mayor. He is the recipient of the 2017 Special Citation Theater Award for his play black odyssey, which swept the Theater Bay Area Awards garnering 6 other prizes including Best Production. Gardley is the recipient of the 2015 Glickman Award for The House
That Will Not Stand, which recently ended its run at New York Theater Workshop. It was commissioned and produced by Berkeley Rep and had subsequent productions at Yale Rep, the Tricycle Theater in London and Victory Gardens in Chicago. It was a finalist for the 2015 Kennedy Prize. He is an ensemble member playwright at Victory Gardens Theater where his play The Gospel of Living Kindness won the 2014 BTAA award for best play/playwright. In 2014, his saga The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry about the migration of Black Seminoles (a tribe of African American and First Nations People) from Florida to Oklahoma had a national tour. It was a finalist for the 2014 Kennedy Prize. He is the co-bookwriter of Paradise Square, a new musical which will open at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in fall 2018, directed by Moises Kaufman with choreography by Bill T Jones. He is one of the most produced playwrights in the US with over two dozen productions, some of which include: Every Tongue Confess at Arena Stage (starring Phylicia Rashad and directed by Kenny Leon) and On the Levee, which premiered in 2010 at Lincoln Center. He is the recipient of the 2014 Glickman Award, the 2013 James Baldwin Fellow and the 2011 PEN Laura Pels Award winner for Mid-Career Playwright. He is also the recipient of the 2011 Aetna New Voice Fellowship at Hartford Stage, the Hellen Merrill Award, a Kellsering Honor and the Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award.
In TV, he has written on The Exorcist for Fox, Z: The Beginning of Everything for Amazon, Mindhunter and Tales of the City for Netflix, and The Chi for Showtime. He is currently developing shows at OWN and Hulu, as well as working on films for HBO and Fox Searchlight. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale Drama School and is a member of The Dramatists Guild.