Jeremy McCarter to Host Public Forum Lecture Series at The Public this Season


This fall, The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Andrew D. Hamingson, Executive Director) will launch The Public Forum, an exciting new series of lectures, debates and conversations that showcase leading voices in the arts, politics and the media. Curated by Jeremy McCarter, a senior writer at Newsweek, Public Forum events are open to the general public. Tickets for the inaugural event can be purchased for $25 beginning Tuesday, October 5. Member tickets are on sale Tuesday, September 28.

The Public Forum will explore issues that are raised by plays in The Public's season, as well as the political and cultural headlines of the day. In keeping with the best traditions of The Public, the Forum will host a wide diversity of views and bring the theater into contact with the society around it. The programs are standalone events, not post-show talkbacks.

"The Public has always seen the theater as part of a wider cultural conversation, a place where the biggest issues of our society can be enacted, contemplated, and debated," said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "The Public Forum is an integral addition to that mission, and Jeremy McCarter is a wonderful addition to our team. His breadth of insight and interests, passion for both theater and ideas, and tremendous sophistication make him an ideal leader for The Public Forum."

The first Public Forum event, "Chasing The Green Light," coincides with The Public's acclaimed production of GATZ and will take place on Monday, October 18 at 8 p.m. The evening will explore F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel The Great Gatsby and how the country's recent troubles have affected the American dream. Sam Waterston is the host for the evening.

The three-part, 90-minute evening will begin with a writers' roundtable on Fitzgerald's legacy, featuring Michael Friedman (composer/lyricist, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Jay McInerney (author of Bright Lights, Big City and How It Ended), and Suzan-Lori Parks (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Topdog/Underdog). Following the roundtable, Arianna Huffington (co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post) will discuss her new book, Third World America, and trade views on money and the changing American dream with Reihan Salam (contributor to National Review and co-author of Grand New Party). The evening will close with a personal account of how tenuous American dreams can be: readings from the heartbreaking letters that Zelda Fitzgerald wrote to her husband Scott over the course of their beautiful and damned life together. Additional participants will be announced closer to the event date.

"Who Lost America?", the season's second Public Forum event, will be held in conjunction with the New York premiere of Lisa Kron's In The Wake. Leading voices from across the political spectrum and the arts will consider how our society has changed in the ten years since Bush v. Gore, and what we can do to fix what ails us today. The provocative conversation is scheduled for Monday, November 15.

The Public Forum's fall season will conclude on Monday, November 29 when two giants of the American theater meet on The Public Theater stage. Stephen Sondheim will mark the publication of his new memoir and lyric anthology, Finishing the Hat, by discussing his book, his craft, and the theatrical life with a riveting one-on-one discussion with Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Caroline, or Change). The evening will be hosted by Rocco Landesman, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who has produced shows by both writers.


Jeremy McCarter is the director of The Public Forum. He writes about culture and politics for Newsweek and is the editor of Bite the Hand That Feeds You: Essays and Provocations by Henry Fairlie (Yale University Press, 2009). Until 2008, he was the drama critic for New York Magazine. He has written for The New York Times, The New Republic, Politico, and The New York Sun.
Michael Friedman. His work at The Public includes the hit Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which has transferred to Broadway's Bernard Jacobs Theatre, as well as Paris Commune, Romeo and Juliet, Satellites, The Seagull, and Cymbeline. This fall he also wrote music for Tony Kushner's Angels in America at the Signature Theatre. Upcoming projects include Pretty Filthy, a musical about the adult film industry with The Civilians, an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's novel, Fortress of Solitude, and commissions from Playwrights Horizons, the Huntington Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His work with The Civilians includes This Beautiful City, [I Am] Nobody's Lunch, Canard, Canard, Goose? and the long-running Gone Missing. His other work as composer/lyricist includes Saved (Playwrights Horizons), Hoover Comes Alive! (La Jolla Playhouse),The Brand New Kid (Kennedy Center), and In the Bubble (at AMTP). His music has also been heard at NYTW, the Roundabout, Second Stage, Soho Rep, Theater for a New Audience, Signature, and The Acting Company, and regionally at the Guthrie, The Huntington, La Jolla Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Humana Festival, ART, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and internationally at London's Soho and Gate Theatres, and the Edinburgh Festival. He was also the dramaturg for the recent Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. Her latest, Third World America, published in September 2010, chronicles the struggles of America's besieged middle class. She is also co-host of "Left, Right & Center," public radio's popular political roundtable program, and is a frequent guest on television shows such as "Charlie Rose," "Real Time with Bill Maher," "Larry King Live," "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and "The Rachel Maddow Show." In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that has quickly become one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. She was named to the Time 100, Time magazine's list of the world's 100 most influential people, and to the Financial Times' list of 50 people who shaped the decade.

Tony Kushner's plays include A Bright Room Called Day; Angels in America, Parts One and Two; Slavs!; 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 has adapted and translated Pierre Corneille's The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk, Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Sezuan and Mother Courage and Her Children; and the English-language libretto for the opera Brundibár by Hans Krasa. He wrote the screenplays for Mike Nichols' film of Angels In America, and Steven Spielberg's Munich. His books include Brundibar, with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict, co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Kushner is the recipient of a Pultizer Prize, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, an Olivier Award, an Emmy Award and an Oscar nomination, among other honors. In 2008, he was the first recipient of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.

Rocco Landesman is the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Before becoming a government official, he was a Broadway producer whose credits include Into the Woods (1987), Angels in America (1993), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1996), and Caroline, or Change (2004).

JAY McINERNEY is the author of seven novels, including Bright Lights, Big City, his bestselling 1984 debut, which was cited by Time Magazine in 2006 as one of nine generation-defining novels of the twentieth century. Translated into more than 20 languages, Bright Lights has achieved the status of a contemporary classic. McInerney wrote the screenplay for the 1988 United Artists film version of the novel, along with several other screenplays, including "Gia." Among his other novels are Ransom (1985), Story of My Life (1988), Brightness Falls (1992), The Last of the Savages (1996), Model Behavior (1999), and The Good Life (2006). McInerney has written for numerous publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian (London), Corriere della Serra (Milan), and the Wall Street Journal. His novel The Good Life received the Grand Prix Literaire at the Deauville Film Festival in 2007. In 2009 he published How it Ended, a collection of short stories which was named one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times.

Suzan-Lori Parks. Her plays include The Book of Grace; 365 Days/365 Plays; Topdog/Underdog (2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama); Fucking A; Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1990 Obie Award for Best New American Play); The America Play; Venus (1996 Obie Award); The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World; and In the Blood (2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist). Her work is the subject of the PBS film The Topdog Diaries. Most of Parks' plays are published by Theatre Communications Group. She is an alumna of New Dramatists and has been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She was also the recipient of a Lila Wallace--Reader's Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts (Drama) and a Guggenheim Foundation grant. In 2001 she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. Her work for the screen includes, as an actor: a leading role in . . . Plus One, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival; as a writer/director: Anemone Me (produced by Christine Vachon and Todd Haynes); as a writer: Girl 6 (directed by Spike Lee), screenplays for Brad Pitt, Jodie Foster, and Denzel Washington; and an adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God (for Oprah Winfrey Presents). Her first novel, Getting Mother's Body, is published by Random House. Parts 1, 8, and 9 of her play cycle Father Comes Home From the Wars premiered in 2009 at The Public Theater. Parks currently serves The Public Theater as Master Writer Chair.

REIHAN SALAM is a policy advisor at Economics 21. He blogs for National Review and he writes a column for The Daily Beast. He is the co-author, with Ross Douthat, of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.

Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, The Frogs, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion and Road Show as well as lyrics for Gypsy and Do I Hear A Waltz? and additional lyrics for Candide. Anthologies of his work include Side by Side by Sondheim, Marry Me A Little, You're Gonna Love Tomorrow, Putting It Together and Sondheim on Sondheim. For films, he composed the scores of Stavisky, co-composed Reds and wrote songs for Dick Tracy and the television production Evening Primrose. He co-authored the film The Last of Sheila and the play Getting Away With Murder. Sondheim is on the Council of the Dramatists Guild, having served as its President from 1973 to 1981.

Sam Waterston was most recently seen at The Public Theater as Polonius in Hamlet. He portrayed Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy on "Law & Order" for 13 seasons. Waterston is a six-time Emmy Award nominee (three times for "Law & Order" and three more for "I'll Fly Away") who won the award for hosting the 10-part NBC informational series "Lost Civilizations." He also received a Golden Globe for "I'll Fly Away" and earned the 1999 Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance as McCoy. In addition, Waterston also earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his performance in The Killing Fields, and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Most Promising Newcomer for his portrayal of Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby. Waterston's other notable feature credits include: the Woody Allen films Interiors, Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors; John Waters' Serial Mom, Hopscotch and Heaven's Gate; The Glass Menagerie (with Katharine Hepburn) and Eagle's Wing. He also starred opposite Jeff Bridges in Rancho Deluxe and with Reese Witherspoon in Man in the Moon. Waterston's important stage work includes Broadway and off-Broadway productions as well as many plays with The Public, such as Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Cymbeline, Measure for Measure and Hamlet. He earned a Tony Award nomination for his role as Abe Lincoln in Abe Lincoln in Illinois at the Lincoln Center Theater, as well as an Obie and Drama Desk Award for his portrayal of Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing.

The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Andrew D. Hamingson, Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals, and productions of classics at its downtown headquarters and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public's mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day onstage and through extensive outreach and education programs. Each year, over 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe's Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public has won 42 Tony Awards, 151 Obies, 41 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. The Public has brought 54 shows to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk; On the Town; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Elaine Stritch at Liberty; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Well; Passing Strange; the Tony Award-winning revival of Hair; and this fall, the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and the 2010 Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice. For more information, visit

All tickets for The Public Forum are $25. Public Theater Members enjoy an exclusive pre-sale period before tickets are sold to the general public. Tickets for "Chasing the Green Light" are on sale beginning Tuesday, September 28 to Public Theater members; single tickets go on sale Tuesday, October 5 at (212) 967-7555,, or in person at The Public Theater Box Office.

The Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street.


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