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Tony Kushner to Receive First Steinberg Playwright Award

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The New York Times reports this morning that Playwright Tony Kushner has been named the first recipient of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. The award, which which comes with a cash prize of $200,000 will be announced on Wednesday. The award was created "with an eye toward attracting talented playwrights and bolstering the status of their profession." The award will be presented to Kushner at a ceremony on October 21.

Born in New York City in 1956, and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Kushner is best known for his two-part epic, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. His other plays include A Bright Room Called Day, Slavs!; Hydrotaphia; Homebody/Kabul; and Caroline or Change, the musical for which he wrote book and lyrics, with music by composer Jeanine Tesori. Kushner has translated and adapted 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 children's 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 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, an Oscar nomination, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Mid-Career Playwright, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and a Cultural Achievement Award from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, among many others. Most recently, Caroline or Change, produced in the autumn of 2006 at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, received the Evening Standard Award, the London Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Olivier Award for Best Musical. He is the subject of a documentary film, Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner, made by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock. He is currently working on a screenplay about Abraham Lincoln. He lives in Manhattan with his husband, Mark Harris.

Photo of Tony Kushner by Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

 

 


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