Guthrie’s major celebration of all things Kushner kicks off
By David Hawley | Friday, April 17, 2009
Who is Tony Kushner, and why is the Guthrie Theater devoting two months to a "celebration" of him?
We’re about to find out.
The "celebration," which kicks off Saturday with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak declaring "Tony Kushner Day," includes Kushner plays on all three Guthrie stages - plus a plethora of seminars, classes and workshops and two "Extreme Kushner Weekends" that involve marathon theater packages and additional Kushner-related events.
Why Tony Kushner? "He is, without question, the pre-eminent American playwright of our generation," declares Jo Holcomb, whose 13 years as a Guthrie dramaturg means she is very familiar with names like Albee, Mamet, Shepard and other living giants.
Awards galore: Pulitzer, an Emmy, two Tonys and more But to local theatergoers, Kushner’s name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. That’s despite the fact that he’s the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize, an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards and an Oscar nomination.
Oh, sure, there’s "Angels in America," Kushner’s 1992 two-part epic about AIDS in the era of America’s conservative counter-revolution. Minnesotans, for the most part, are familiar with the play from the HBO movie adaptation (the full title is "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes"). But around here, Kushner just hasn’t gotten that much stage time.