Playwright Tony Kushner to Speak at Yale

Award-winning writer Tony Kushner will speak about his life, his religion and his work at Yale on September 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Battell Chapel, corner of College and Elm streets.

The talk, “Jewish In America,” sponsored by Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, the David and Goldie Blanksteen Lectureship in Jewish Ethics of Yale Hillel and the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale, is free and open to the public. Dr. Sherwin Nuland, clinical professor of surgery and gastro-enterology and author of prize-winning books of non-fiction, will interview Kushner.

Kushner’s epic drama “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” won 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 Liberty Award for Drama. This groundbreaking play focuses on three households: a gay couple, one of whom has AIDS; a Mormon man coming to terms with his sexuality; and the infamous lawyer Roy Cohn, who died of AIDS in 1986, who denied his homosexuality all the way to the grave. The 2003 HBO television version of the play was directed by Mike Nichols and featured Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson.

Other plays by Kushner include “A Bright Room Called Day” and “Slavs!” as well as adaptations of Goethe’s “Stella,” Brecht’s “The Good Person of Szechwan,” Corneille’s “The Illusion” and Ansky’s “The Dybbuk.” His recent work includes “Henry Box Brown or the Mirror of Slavery,” “Caroline or Change” and “Homebody/Kabul.” His plays have been produced at the Mark Taper Forum, the New York Shakespeare Festival, New York Theatre Workshop, Hartford Stage Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Los Angeles Theatre Center as well as in theaters around the world. In 2003, Kushner published a picture book, “Brundibar,” with author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. He also wrote the text for “The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present.” Among his many honors are fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Foundation and a medal from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Addressing current political topics in his two most recent works, Kushner edited “Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” and wrote “Save Your Democratic Soul! Rants, Screeds and Other Public Utterances.”

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