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About Tony Kushner

Cover design by Milton Glaser


Tony Kushner intends his plays to be part of a greater political movement; his work is concerned with moral responsibility during politically repressive times. Kushner has a way of bringing the lofty into the sphere of the approachable by creating everyday characters who 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. In his speaking engagements and lectures, Kushner talks about weighty philosophical and political topics—without being didactic or patronizing. And because he genuinely respects the intelligence of both his students and his audience, it’s truly rousing to hear him speak about timeless matters such as faith, death, and life.

Angels in America

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. In 1998, London’s National Theatre selected Angels in America as one of the ten best plays of the twentieth century.

About Angels in America, Newsweek magazine wrote, "The entire work is the broadest, deepest, most searching American play of our time." The 2003 HBO television version of this play was directed by Mike Nichols and featured actors Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, and Emma Thompson and received 21 Emmy nominations.

Other Works

Tony Kushner’s other plays include Hydrotaphia, A Bright Room Called Day, Slavs!: Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness, and adaptations of Goethe’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; he has also received a Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Fellowship, and a medal for Cultural Achievement from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Tony Kushner’s recent projects include the play Henry Box Brown or the Mirror of Slavery; two musical plays, St. Cecilia or The Power of Music and Caroline, or Change; and the incredibly prescient Homebody/Kabul.

In late 2003, Kushner published a picture book entitled Brundibar, based on the American version of the opera of the same name which he crafted with author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. He also wrote the text for a new survey book of Sendak's illustrations and stage designs entitled The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present.

Addressing current political topics in his two most recent works, Tony Kushner edited Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and wrote the not-yet-published Save Your Democratic Soul!: Rants, Screeds, and Other Public Utterances.

For more information, contact Dana Hendrix at (512) 863-1241