Tony Kushner

30 Nov 2016


Tony Kushner. Photo by Karl Seifert.

"I've always thought theater was too eager to accept defeat in the face of film and television when it comes to illusion. Magic is a necessary violation of the rules."

Tony Kushner is a renowned playwright perhaps best known for his two-part epic, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993. He has a reputation for taking on some of the most difficult subjects in contemporary history in his plays: Afghanistan and the West in Homebody/Kabul; German Fascism and Reaganism in A Bright Room Called Day; the rise of capitalism in Hydriotaphia, or the Death of Dr. Browne; and racism and the civil rights movement in the South in Caroline, or Change. Kushner wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols' film of Angels in America (2003) and for Stephen Spielberg's Munich (2005) and Lincoln (2012), receiving an Academy award nomination for the latter and the New York Film Critics Circle Award, Chicago Film Critics Award, and several others. His books include But the Giraffe: A Curtain Raising and Brundibar: the Libretto, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Among Kushner's many honors are an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN/Laura Pels Award, a Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement, and the 2012 National Medal of Arts.

Kushner visited Philadelphia's Wilma Theater in April 2010 for an event presented by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. He engaged in a live conversation with the theater's resident dramaturg, Walter Bilderback, during which he spoke candidly about his creative process, and then held a lively Q&A with Philadelphia-area theater professionals.