Richard Thomas Joins Public Forum 2/28

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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.

BETHANY MCLEAN is the former editor-at-large of Fortune Magazine. Her 2001 piece, "Is Enron Overpriced?" was one of the first skeptical articles about Enron, and after the company collapsed into bankruptcy, she co-authored the Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron with her Fortune colleague Peter Elkind. A documentary based on the book was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006. In 2008, McLean joined Vanity Fair as a contributing editor. Her recent book, which she co-authored with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, is All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis. McLean is also a columnist for Slate.

Jeremy McCarter is the Director of 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.

Richard Thomas was last seen by Public Theater audiences in As You Like It at The Delacorte Theater. His Broadway credits include David Mamet's Race, Sunrise at Campobello, Strange Interlude, The Playroom, Everything in the Garden, Fifth of July, The Front Page, Democracy, and A Naked Girl On The Appian Way. His additional New York and US credits include The Seagull, Richard II, Richard III, Hamlet, Peer Gynt, Tiny Alice, Love Letters, Measure For Measure, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Saint Joan, Merton of the Movies, Square One, The Count of Monte Cristo, Citizen Tom Paine, Streamers, Danton's Death, Arms and the Man, The Barbarians, La Ronde, Vieux Carre, The Devil's Disciple, The Lisbon Traviata, The Stendhal Syndrome, and Art (London). His most recent performances include Twelve Angry Men (National Tour), and Terrence McNally's Unusual Acts of Devotion. He regularly performs around the country A Distant Country Called Youth and Blanche and Beyond, from the letters of Tennessee Williams. Over 50 films for television include "The Red Badge of Courage," "Roots: The Next Generations," "All Quiet on the Western Front," "Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story," "Common Ground" and "Andre's Mother." His TV series include "It's a Miracle," "Just Cause" and "The Waltons," for which he received the Emmy Award. Thomas' films include Winning, Last Summer, Red Sky at Morning, You'll Like My Mother, 9/30/55, Battle Beyond the Stars, Wonder Boys, Taking Woodstock and The Beaver.

The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Joey Parnes, Interim 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; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; and currently, the 2010 Shakespeare in the Park production of The Merchant of Venice.

All tickets for Public Forum are $25. Tickets for "Too Rich To Fail: A Town Hall Meeting on Americans and Their Money" are on sale now 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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