Tony Kushner in Conversation

Tony Kushner in Conversation

by Robert Vorlicky

The premier American playwright of this decade speaks out about art, sexuality, and social justice
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The premier American playwright of this decade speaks out about art, sexuality, and social justice

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Seldom has a new work of dramatic literature been discussed by scholars as widely and quickly as Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Angels in America. One scholar termed it "a turning point in the history of gay drama, the history of American drama, and of American literary culture." The breadth of the play's thematic concerns, the originality of its construction and characterizations, and the multiple ambivalences of its message guarantee that it will provoke stimulating critical and scholarly discussion. These two volumesthe first works devoted entirely to Kushner to be published in the United Statesrepresent a major step in the canonization of Kushner's "Gay Fantasia on National Themes." Geis and Kruger (both English, Queens Coll., CUNY) have grouped 18 essaysonly two of which are reprintsinto four categories: the play's political and historical themes; issues of racial, ethnic, and religious identity; apocalypse and the millennium; and performance contexts. Though all 18 are stimulating, the academic prose makes the collection appropriate only for collections supporting graduate or advanced undergraduate studies. Vorlicky (drama, New York Univ.) provides a major service by bringing together 22 interviews with Kushner, about half previously published (but several in ephemeral and nonacademic periodicals) and the others transcribed from television talk shows and symposia. The breadth of Kushner's interests and knowledge and the passion of his political and social commitments are on full display here. Reading the two collections together is particularly illuminating, as Kushner's own views at times both confirm and dampen the critical speculations of the scholars. Both volumes are mandatory for academic American literature, theater, or gay studies collections. Public libraries serving substantial gay male populations also should consider the collection of interviews.Robert W. Melton, Univ. of Kansas Libs. Lawrence
Wayne Koestenbaum
Prophet, rabblerouser, mensch: Tony Kushner's business, as Emily Dickinson almost said, is paradise, and he means to bring us closer to it, quickly. This devotion to the word -- his conviction that one must speak profusely, generously, nakedly -- will inspire talkers and dreamers of every stripe. -- Wayne Koestenbaum

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Product Details

University of Michigan Press
Publication date:
Triangulations: Lesbian/Gay/Queer Theater/Drama/Performance Series
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Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.01(h) x 0.95(d)

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