Richard Thomas Joins Public Forum 2/28

Richard Thomas Joins Public Forum 2/28

The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Joey Parnes Interim Executive Director) announced the line-up today for the second Public Forum event of 2011, "Too Rich To Fail: A Town Hall Meeting on Americans and Their Money," on Monday, February 28 at 8 p.m. To coincide with The Public's production of Timon of Athens, Shakespeare's timely tragedy about a man who loses and gains a fortune, The Public Forum continues its popular new series with a program exploring the power of money in America, the land of million-dollar bonuses, credit-card debt, and more. The program features insights from leading voices in politics, arts, and the media. Tickets are $25 and are on sale now at (212) 967-7555 or

In the first part of the program, Richard Thomas, the stage and screen actor who's playing Timon, will talk about the role and Shakespeare's views on money with Barry Edelstein, the play's director and author of Thinking Shakespeare. The discussion will be moderated by RAndy Cohen, who currently writes the Ethicist column for The New York Times Magazine.

The second part of the evening will be a wide-ranging conversation about the role of money in our lives: the widening gap between rich and poor, the financial crisis, the power of Wall Street, money in politics, why Americans equate wealth and virtue, and more. Participants will include David Patrick Columbia, who chronicles the city's elite on the website New York Social Diary; Katy Lederer, who worked at a hedge fund before writing a book of poems about money, The Heaven-Sent Leaf, and has also written the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers; and Bethany McLean, who writes Slate's "Moneybox" column and is the co-author of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and All the Devils Are Here, a new history of the financial crisis. The conversation will be moderated by the director of the Public Forum, Newsweek senior writer Jeremy McCarter.
The Public Forum spring season will continue on Monday, March 7 at 8 p.m., with "Imagination and Memory," a riveting discussion of Anne Frank's legacy and Holocaust literature today held in conjunction with The Public Theater's production of Compulsion.

RAndy Cohen's first professional work was writing humor pieces, essays, and stories for newspapers and magazines (The New Yorker, Harper's, the Atlantic, and Young Love Comics). His first television work was writing for "Late Night With David Letterman" for which he won three Emmy awards. His fourth Emmy was for his work on Michael Moore's "TV Nation." He received a fifth Emmy as a result of a clerical error, and he kept it. For twelve years, he has written "The Ethicist," a weekly column for the New York Times Magazine, a job that concludes this month. He is currently developing "A Question of Ethics," a program for public radio.

David PatRICK COLUMBIA has been writing the Social Diary for the past 17 years, first in Quest Magazine, later in Avenue, where he was also the editor. Today, he writes online at The New York Social Diary, which he started in 2000 with Jeff Hirsch.

Barry Edelstein is the director of Timon of Athens. He is in charge of The Public's Shakespeare Initiative, which oversees all Shakespeare production in Central Park and downtown--including the newly launched Mobile Unit tour to prisons, shelters, etc.--and which runs the Shakespeare Lab professional training program and The Public's Shakespeare-related education and outreach programs. For The Shakespeare Initiative, Edelstein has shepherded The Merchant of Venice (also Associate Producer of the Broadway transfer), The Winter's Tale, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and Othello. His directing credits for The Public Theater include Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice (1995), and WASP and Other Plays. Edelstein was the dramaturg for three seasons of Joseph Papp's "Shakespeare Marathon." He was the Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company from 1998-2003. He has staged many productions of Shakespeare and others in NYC and around the country. As an author, his credits include Thinking Shakespeare (2007), and Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions (2009).
KATY LEDERER is the author of the poetry collections Winter Sex (Verse Press, 2002) and The Heaven-Sent Leaf (BOA Editions, 2008), as well as the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Crown, 2003), which Publishers Weekly included on its list of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2003 and Esquire Magazine named one of its eight Best Books of the Year 2003. Educated at the University of California at Berkeley and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she serves as a Poetry Editor of Fence Magazine. Her honors and awards include fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is also a former VP at a hedge fund in midtown Manhattan.

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