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 of, along with Eric Roth, 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, but his parents, William Kushner and Sylvia (Deutscher) Kushner, both classically trained musicians, moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana shortly after his birth. Kushner moved to New York in 1974 to begin his undergraduate college education at Columbia University, where he completed a B.A. in English literature in 1978. He studied directing at New York University's Graduate School, where he graduated in 1984.
In April 2003 he and his long-time partner, Entertainment Weekly editor Mark Harris, had a wedding ceremony in New York. Theirs was the first same-sex marriage ever covered by The New York Times' "Vows" column.
Plays by the Author
- 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.
- Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, 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 Theare, 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)
Books by the Author
- 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: Hydriotaphia, 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
- East Coast Ode to Howard Jarvis
- Brundibar, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, Hyperion Books for Children, 2003.
- The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present, 2003
- Save Your Democratic Soul!: Rants, Screeds, and Other Public Utterances
- Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, with Alisa Solomon, Grove, 2003.
Other works by Author
- 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)
- Caroline or Change, (a musical)
- Brundibar, (an opera in collaboration with Maurice Sendak)
- Munich, a film by Steven Spielberg (2005) - screenplay (co-written by)
Magazine Contributions by the Author
- "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.
- "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.
Interviews with the Author
- 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).
Books about the Author
- Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit), Volume 81, 1994.
- Geis, Deborah R., and Steven F. Kruger, Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America, University of Michigan Press, 1997.
- 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.
- Emmy Award
- Pulitzer Prize for Drama
- Two Tony Awards
- Evening Standard Award
- 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 25th, 2004
- Honorary Degree from Brandeis University on May 21, 2006