Tony Kushner

Tony Kushner

Infobox Writer

imagesize = 300px
name = Tony Kushner
birthdate = birth date and age|1956|7|16
birthplace = New York City, New York
awards = Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
2003 "Angels in America"
Tony Award for Best Play'
1993 '

Tony Kushner (born July 16, 1956) is an award-winning American playwright most famous for his play "Angels in America", for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He is also co-author, along with Eric Roth, of the screenplay of the 2005 film "Munich", which was directed by Steven Spielberg and earned Kushner (along with Roth) an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.


He was born to a Jewish family in Manhattan. His parents, William Kushner and Sylvia (Deutscher) Kushner, both classically trained musicians, moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana, the seat of Calcasieu Parish, shortly after his birth. During high school Kushner had a reputation in policy debate, at one point going to a camp, and making it to the final rounds. Kushner moved to New York in 1974 to begin his undergraduate college education at Columbia University, where he completed a B.A. in Medieval Studies [ [ PBS] ] in 1978. He studied directing at New York University's Graduate School, from which he was graduated in 1984. During graduate school, he spent the summers of 1978-1981 directing both early original works (Masque of Owls and Incidents and Occurrences During the Travels of the Tailor Max) and Shakespearean plays (A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest) for the children attending the Governor's Program for Gifted Children (GPGC) in Lake Charles. In 2008, he received a Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from SUNY Purchase College. His commencement speech is available on the SUNY Purchase [ website] .

"Angels in America" is a play in two parts. The first part is entitled "Millennium Approaches," and the second is entitled "Perestroika". Kushner's other plays include "Hydriotaphia", "Slavs!: Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness", "A Bright Room Called Day", "Homebody/Kabul", and the book for the musical "Caroline, or Change". His new translation of Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage and Her Children" was performed at the Delacorte Theater in the summer of 2006 starring Meryl Streep and directed by George C. Wolfe. Kushner has also adapted S. Ansky's play "The Dybbuk".

In April 2003 Kushner and his long-time partner, "Entertainment Weekly" editor Mark Harris, had a wedding ceremony in New York.

In January 2006, a documentary feature about Kushner entitled "Wrestling With Angels" debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was directed by Freida Lee Mock.

Kushner's plays are published by T C G and Broadway Play Publishing Inc.

Controversy over views on Israel

In an interview with the "Jewish Independent", Kushner insisted that "I want the state of Israel to continue to exist. I've always said that. I've never said anything else. My positions have been lied about and misrepresented in so many ways. People claim that I'm for a one-state solution, which is not true." However, he later stated that he hopes that "there might be a merging of the two countries because [they're] geographically kind of ridiculous looking on a map," although he acknowledged that political realities make this unlikely in the near future.cite news|url=|date=August 24, 2007 |title=Tony Kushner as film subject|author=Cynthia Ramsey|publisher=Jewish Independent]

Kushner's criticism of Israeli treatment of Palestinians and of the increase in religious extremism within Israeli politics and culture has created some controversy in the Jewish community, including some opposition to his receiving an honorary doctorate at the 2006 commencement of Brandeis University. The Zionist Organization of America unsuccessfully lobbied for the university to rescind its invitation to Kushner. In the course of the controversy, quotes critical of Zionism and Israel made by Kushner were circulated. Kushner said at the time that his quotes were "grossly mischaracterized." Kushner told the "Jewish Advocate" in an interview "All that anybody seems to be reading is a couple of right-wing Web sites taking things deliberately out of context and excluding anything that would complicate the picture by making me seem like a reasonable person, which I basically think I am." [Shayndi Raice. [ Brandeis graduation honoree draws fire.] "The Jewish Advocate". May 4 2006.] [Nicola Brodie. New controversy for Brandeis as school honors playwright Kushner. "Jewish Telegraphic Agency". May 12, 2006.] [Tony Kushner. [ Letter to President Jehuda Reinharz, Brandeis University.] April 25, 2006. Reprinted in "The Forward". Accessed March 13, 2008.]

Other statements

On the issue of Israel, Kushner has stated that:

"there's a very strong democratic tradition in Israel–a secular, pluralist, democratic tradition in Israel. I believe that there's a great deal of jurisprudence and legislative history and executive action in Israel that supports a vision of Israel as a progressive, democratic, secular, pluralist state. I don't know how you reconcile that with the notion of Israel as a Jewish state and that's always been a question that I've had about it, but I leave that to Israel to work out. I believe that there are a lot of people in Israel who absolutely want to see the country equally enfranchise its Jewish citizens and its non-Jewish citizens, its Arab citizens, and I would hope that would be an ongoing struggle that resolves itself in the direction of pluralist, constitutional democracy; a secular, pluralist, constitutional democracy. And there's good reason to hope for that and I think that needs to be supported."



* "The Age of Assassins," New York, Newfoundland Theatre, 1982.
* "La Fin de la Baleine: An Opera for the Apocalypse," New York, Ohio Theatre, 1983.
* "The Umbrella Oracle," Martha's Vineyard, The Yard, Inc..
* "Last Gasp at the Cataract," Martha's Vineyard, The Yard, Inc., 1984.
* "Yes, Yes, No, No: The Solace-of-Solstice, Apogee/Perigee, Bestial/Celestial Holiday Show," produced in St. Louis, Missouri, Imaginary Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, 1985, published in "Plays in Process," 1987.
* "Stella" (adapted from the play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe), produced in New York City, 1987.
* "A Bright Room Called Day," produced in New York, Theatre 22, 22 April 1985; San Francisco, Eureka Theatre, October 1987; London, Bush Theatre, 1988), Broadway Play Publishing, 1991.
* "The Heavenly Theatre," produced at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, 1986.
* "In Great Eliza's Golden Time," produced in St. Louis, Missouri, Imaginary Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, 1986.
* "Hydriotaphia", produced in New York City, 1987 (based on the life on Sir Thomas Browne)
* "The Illusion" (adapted from Pierre Corneille's play L'Illusion comique; produced in New York City, 1988, revised version produced in Hartford, CT, 1990), Broadway Play Publishing, 1991.
* "In That Day (Lives of the Prophets)," New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, 1989.
* (With Ariel Dorfman) "Widows" (adapted from a book by Ariel Dorfman), produced in Los Angeles, CA, 1991.
* ", Part One: Millennium Approaches" (produced in San Francisco, 1991), Hern, 1992.
* "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part Two: Perestroika," produced in New York City, 1992.
* "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (includes both parts)", Theatre Communications Group (New York, NY), 1995.
* "Slavs! Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness", Theatre Communications Group, 1995.
* "Reverse Transcription: Six Playwrights Bury a Seventh, A Ten-Minute Play That's Nearly Twenty Minutes Long," Louisville, Humana Festival of New American Plays, Actors Theatre of Louisville, March 1996.
* "A Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds" (adapted from Joachim Neugroschel's transation of the original play by S. Ansky; produced in New York City at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, 1997), Theatre Communications Group, 1997.
* "The Good Person of Szechuan" (adapted from the original play by Bertolt Brecht), Arcade, 1997.
* (With Eric Bogosian and others) "Love's Fire: Seven New Plays Inspired by Seven Shakespearean Sonnets", Morrow, 1998.
* "Terminating, or Lass Meine Schmerzen Nicht Verloren Sein, or Ambivalence, in Love's Fire," Minneapolis, Guthrie Theater Lab, 7 January 1998; New York: Joseph Papp Public Theater, 19 June 1998.
* "Henry Box Brown, or the Mirror of Slavery", performed at the Royal National Theatre, London, 1998.
* "Homebody/Kabul," first performed in New York City, 19 December 2001.
* "Caroline, or Change" (musical), first performed in New York at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, 2002.
* (Director)Ellen McLaughlin, "Helen," produced at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, 2002.
* "Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy," 2003.
* Translation with “liberties”—but purportedly “not an adaptation”—of Brecht’s "Mother Courage and Her Children" (2006) [cite news
title=Still Fearsome, Mother Courage Gets a Makeover
last=Kalb |first=Jonathan
publisher=The New York Times


* "A Meditation from Angels in America," HarperSan Francisco, 1994.
* "Thinking about the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness: Essays, a Play, Two Poems, and a Prayer", Theatre Communications Group (New York, NY), 1995.
* Howard Cruse, "Stuck Rubber Baby", introduction by Kushner (New York: Paradox Press, 1995).
* David B. Feinberg, "Queer and Loathing: Rants and Raves of a Raging AIDS Clone," introduction by Kushner (New York: Penguin, 1995).
* David Wojnarowicz, "The Waterfront Journals," edited by Amy Scholder, introduction by Kushner (New York: Grove, 1996).
* "Three Screeds from Key West: For Larry Kramer," in "We Must Love One Another or Die: The Life and Legacies of Larry Kramer," edited by Lawrence D. Mass (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997), pp. 191-199.
* Moises Kaufman, "Gross Indecency," afterword by Kushner (New York: Vintage, 1997), pp. 135-143.
* "Plays by Tony Kushner" (New York: Broadway Play Publishing, 1999). Includes:
** "A Bright Room called Day"
** "The Illusion"
** "Slavs! Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness"
* "Death & Taxes: Hydrotaphia, and Other Plays," Theatre Communications Group (New York, NY), 2000. Includes:
** "Reverse transcription"
** "Hydriotaphia: or the Death of Dr. Browne", (adaptation of Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial (A fictitious, imaginary account of Sir Thomas Browne's character not based upon fact)
** "G. David Schine in Hell"
** "Notes on Akiba"
** "Terminating"
** "East Coast Ode to Howard Jarvis"
* "Brundibar", illustrated by Maurice Sendak, Hyperion Books for Children, 2003.
* "Peter's Pixie", by Donn Kushner, illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault, introduction by Tony Kushner, Tundra Books, 2003
* "The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present", 2003
* "Save Your Democratic Citizen Soul!: Rants, Screeds, and Other Public Utterances"
* "Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," with Alisa Solomon, Grove, 2003.

Magazine contributions

* "The Secrets of Angels," New York Times, 27 March 1994, p. H5.
* "The State of the Theatre," Times Literary Supplement, 28 April 1995, p. 14.
* "The Theater of Utopia," Theater, 26 (1995): 9-11.
* "The Art of the Difficult," Civilization, 4 (August/September 1997): 62-67.
* "Notes About Political Theater," Kenyon Review, 19 (Summer/Fall 1997): 19-34.
* "Wings of Desire," Premiere, October 1997: 70.
* "Fo's Last Laugh--I," Nation, 3 November 1997: 4-5.
* "Matthew's Passion," [] Nation, 9 November 1998
* "A Modest Proposal," American Theatre, January 1998: 20-22, 77-89.
* "A Word to Graduates: Organize!," Nation, 1 July 2002.
* "Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy," Nation, 24 March 2003.

Other works

* "La Fin de la Baleine: An Opera for the Apocalypse", (opera) 1983
* "St. Cecilia or The Power of Music," (opera libretto based on Heinrich von Kleist's eighteenth-century story "Die heilige Cäcilie oder Die Gewalt der Musik, Eine Legende")
* "Brundibar," (an opera in collaboration with Maurice Sendak)
* "Munich", a film by Steven Spielberg (2005) - screenplay (co-written by)


* Gerard Raymond, "Q & A With Tony Kushner," "Theatre Week" (20-26 December 1993): 14-20.
* Mark Marvel, "A Conversation with Tony Kushner," "Interview," 24 (February 1994): 84.
* David Savran, "Tony Kushner," in "Speaking on Stage: Interviews with Contemporary American Playwrights," edited by Philip C. Kolin and Colby H. Kullman (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1996), pp. 291-313.
* Robert Vorlicky, ed., "Tony Kushner in Conversation" (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998).
* Victor Wishna, "Tony Kushner," in [ "In Their Company: Portraits of American Playwrights"] , Photographs by Ken Collins, Interviews by Victor Wishna (New York: Umbrage Editions, 2006).


* Governor's Program for Gifted Children, Lake Charles, LA, Drama Teacher, Director, Playwright, 1978-1981
* United Nations Plaza Hotel, New York City, switchboard operator, 1979-85
* St. Louis Repertory Theatre, assistant director, 1985-86
* New York Theatre Workshop, artistic director, 1987-88
* Theatre Communication Group, New York City, director of literary services, 1990-91
* Juilliard School of Drama, New York City, playwright-in-residence, 1990-92
* Guest artist at New York University Graduate Theatre Program, Yale University, and Princeton University, beginning in 1989.

Awards and nominations

Academy Award
* Nominated: Best Adapted Screenplay, "Munich" (2005)

Emmy Award
* Won: Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special, "Angels in America" (2004)

Golden Globe Award
* Nominated: Best Screenplay, "Munich" (2005)

Tony Award
* Won: Best Author of a Play, "" (1993)
* Won: Best Author of a Play, "" (1994)
* Nominated: Best Book of a Musical, "Caroline, or Change" (2004)
* Nominated: Best Score, "Caroline, or Change" (2004)

Other Awards
* Pulitzer Prize for Drama
* Evening Standard Award
* Olivier Award Winner - Best New Musical - Caroline, or Change, 2007
* New York Drama Critics Circle Award
* American Academy of Arts and Letters Award
* Whiting Writers Fellowship
* Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Fellowship
* National Foundation of Jewish Culture, Cultural Achievement award
* Honorary Doctor of Letters from Pace University on May 25, 2004
* Honorary Degree from Brandeis University on May 21, 2006
* Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, 2008

Further reading

* "Contemporary Literary Criticism," Gale (Detroit), Volume 81, 1994.
* Bloom, Harold, ed., "Tony Kushner", New York, Chelsea House, 2005.
* Brask, Anne, ed., "Ride on the Moon", Chicago, Randomhouse, 1990.
* Brask, Per K., ed., "Essays on Kushner’s Angels", Winnipeg, Blizzard Publishing, 1995.
* Dickinson, Peter, "Travels With Tony Kushner and David Beckham, 2002-2004", in Theatre Journal, 57.3, 2005, pp. 229-50
* Fisher, James, "The Theater of Tony Kushner", London, Routledge, 2002.
* Fisher, James, ed., "Tony Kushner. New Essays on the Art and Politics of His Plays", London, McFarland & Company, 2006.
* Geis, Deborah R., and Steven F. Kruger, "Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America," University of Michigan Press, 1997.
* Klüßendorf, Ricarda, "The Great Work Begins". Tony Kushner's Theater for Change in America, Trier, WVT, 2007.
* Lioi, Anthony, "The Great Work Begins: Theater as Theurgy in Angels in America", in CrossCurrents, Fall 2004, Vol. 54, No 3
* Solty, Ingar, "Tony Kushners amerikanischer Engel der Geschichte", in Das Argument 265, 2/2006, pp. 209-24 []

External links

* [ Film Site for Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner. A Documentary Film by Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock]
* [ Review of Caroline, or Change at the national theatre]
* [ Bio at Steven Barclay Agency]
* [ Author interview in Guernica Magazine (]
* [ Comedy on the Bridge and Brundibar, a collaboration with Maurice Sendak]
* [ Caroline, or Change in Washington, DC]
* [ Interview with Tony Kushner (10/06)]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tony Kushner — Tony Kushner. Anthony Robert Tony Kushner (nacido el 16 de Julio de 1956) es un dramaturgo y guionista norteamericano, galardonado con el Premio Pulitzer en 1992 por su obra Ángeles en América: una fantasía , (Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on …   Wikipedia Español

  • Tony Kushner — Tony Kushner, 1978 Tony Kushner (* 16. Juli 1956 in New York City) ist ein US amerikanischer Drehbuchautor und Schriftsteller. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tony Kushner — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Kushner. Tony Kushner en 1978. Tony Kushner (né le 16 juillet 1956) est un dramaturge amér …   Wikipédia en Français

  • KUSHNER, TONY — (1960– ), British historian. Tony Kushner, Marcus Sieff Professor of Jewish history at Southampton University, wrote widely on antisemitism and the immigrant experience, especially in Britain, and on the Holocaust. His very prolific writings… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Kushner — is a surname and may refer to:* Burton J. Kushner, ophthalmologist * Boris Kushner, mathematician, poet and essayist * Charles Kushner, real estate mogul * Dave Kushner, U.S. guitarist * David Kushner, writer * Ellen Kushner, fantasy author *… …   Wikipedia

  • Kushner — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Cedric Kushner (* 1948), südafrikanisch amerikanischer Boxpromoter Dave Kushner (* 1965), amerikanischer Gitarrist Donn Kushner (* 1927), kanadischer Wissenschaftler Ellen Kushner (* 1955), amerikanische… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kushner, Tony — born July 16, 1956, New York, N.Y., U.S. U.S. dramatist. He grew up in Lake Charles, La., and attended Columbia University and New York University. His early plays include Yes, Yes, No, No (1985). His major work, Angels in America, consists of… …   Universalium

  • Tony Award/Bestes Theaterstück — In der Kategorie Bestes Theaterstück wurden folgende Tony Awards vergeben: Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 1947–1949 2 1950–1959 3 1960–1969 4 1970–1979 5 1980–1989 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tony Taccone — Infobox actor name = Tony Taccone imagesize = caption = birthname = birthdate = birthplace = othername = occupation = Theatre director spouse = yearsactive = homepage = tonyawards = Tony Taccone is an American theatre director. BiographyTony… …   Wikipedia

  • Kushner — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Kushner: Tony Kushner Ellen Kushner Dave Kushner Eva M. Kushner Bernard Kouchner Catégorie : Homonymie …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.