Even if Tony Kushner had not penned the prizewinning, epic gay fantasia, Angels in America
, this earlier work would guarantee him a place in the pantheon of noteworthy living playwrights. Set in the dying days of Weimar Germany among a group of left-wing activists who slowly realize they are losing to the Nazis, the play is, like Angels
, a genre-defying mixture of literate comedy, serious drama, and political-philosophical meditation. Again as in Angels
, Kushner's remarkable eye for telling personal quirks and his ear for believable dialogue guarantee that every character, even the most minor, comes off as a fully realized, living, breathing entity. Further, the play is as compelling on the page as on the stage. It is based on the rather immature notion that the rise of Reagan and company parallels the rise of the Nazis, but happily, Kushner the artist outstrips Kushner the heavy-handed polemicist; the play easily transcends such simpleminded political thinking. Jack Helbig
About the Author
Tony Kushner’s plays include Angels in America; Hydriotaphia, or the Death of Dr. Brown; The Illusion, adapted from the play by Pierre Cornelle; Slavs!; A Bright Room Called Day; Homebody/Kabul; Caroline, or Change, a musical with composer Jeanine Tesori; and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. He wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols’s film of Angels in America and for Steven Spielberg’s Munich and Lincoln. His books include The Art of Maurice Sendak: 1980 to the Present; Brundibar, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; and Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon.
Among many honors, Kushner is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, an Olivier Award, an Emmy Award, two Oscar nominations, and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2012, he was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. He lives in Manhattan with his husband, Mark Harris.