Tony Kushner

February 12-13, 2001

February 13 Discussion

Listen to the whole discussion, moderated by Al Filreis MP3


Tony Kushner Tony Kushner's seven-hour, two-part Broadway production of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a masterful epic. It has received a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, the Evening Standard Award, two Olivier Award nominations, the New York Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, and the LAMBDA Literary Award for Drama. Kushner's other plays include Hydiotaphia, A Bright Room Called Day, Slavs!, and adaptations of Geothe's Stella, Brecht's The Good Person of Setzuan, Ansky's The Dybbuk, and Corneille's The Illusion. In addition, Kushner has received grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the NEA, the Whiting Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Tony Kushner and Bobby McFerrin have collaborated on an opera, Caroline, or Change, which has been produced at the San Francisco Opera. He has been working on a new play, Henry Fox Brown or the Mirror of Slavery, as well as on a new play with music, St. Cecilia. Kushner intends his plays to be part of a greater political movement; his work is concerned with moral responsibility during politically repressive times. One play - set in 1986 at the height of the AIDs epidemic, the demise of communism, and the unraveling of Reaganism - opens daringly with a blind Russian man, the world's oldest living Bolshevik, posing the questions: "Are we doomed? Will the past release us? Can we change?" Kushner has a way of bringing the lofty into the sphere of the approachable by creaeting everyday characters that collide both comically and tragically on stage. The gay, Jewish socialist raised in Louisiana and educated at Columbia and NYU most enjoys addressing audiences that are receptive to ideas for change and progress. One critic has written of Angels in America: "The entire work is the broadest, deepest, most searching American play of our time."