Tony Kushner Calls Toronto UJA's Disassociation With His Appearance 'McCarthyism'

As the author of the Tony and Pulitzer winning ANGELS IN AMERICA: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES, in which the infamous Communist hunter Senator Roy Cohn figures heavily, Tony Kushner has an intimate knowledge of McCarthyism. So when he uses that label to describe the Toronto chapter of the United Jewish Appeal's (UJA) choice to separate itself from his live appearance at an event, it's not a claim he would make lightly.

As reported by The Globe and Mail, the playwright and screenwriter accused the Jewish charity and advocacy organization of conducting a "smear campaign" after it released a statement disassociating itself from tonight's "Tony Kushner in Conversation," an onstage chat with director Philip Akin held at Toronto's Panasonic Theatre and presented by the Koffler Centre for the Arts.

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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 wrote the libretto for the opera A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck, also with Ms. Tesori. 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 forMike 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 Pulitzer 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. He lives in Manhattan with his husband, Mark Harris.

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From This Author Michael Dale