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Andrea Ciccarelli
College Arts & Humanities Institute

Last modified: Monday, January 30, 2012

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner to speak on IU campus

Jan. 30, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner will speak at Indiana University at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, in the Fine Arts Auditorium (FA015).

Tony Kushner

Photo by Joan Marcus

Tony Kushner

Kushner, who also won an Emmy and two Tony awards and was nominated for an Oscar, will deliver the latest in a series of lectures sponsored by the College Arts & Humanities Institute. The event is free and open to the public.

"When we had a chance to bring Mr. Kushner to Bloomington, we did not hesitate," said Andrea Ciccarelli, professor of Italian studies and director of CAHI. "Mr. Kushner is an ideal guest speaker for one of our long-standing lecture series devoted to the exploration of cultural conflicts. His works are all perfectly wrapped around the attempt to explain, understand and present conflicted ideological, political and social stances -- be they connected to gender or racial issues, Middle Eastern politics or domestic politics."

Kushner's works tackle some of the most controversial subjects in contemporary history, such as AIDS ("Angels in America"), Afghanistan and the West ("Homebody/Kabul"), German fascism and Reaganism ("A Bright Room Called Day"), the rise of capitalism ("Hydriotaphia, or the Death of Dr. Browne"), and racism and the civil rights movement in the South ("Caroline, or Change.") Kushner's work portrays a belief in a multilayered composition of life, giving voice to characters who have been rendered powerless by the forces of circumstances -- a drag queen dying of AIDS, an uneducated Southern maid or contemporary Afghans. In his plays, he shows all sides of the characters' predicaments, forcing the audience to, if not identify with, at least comprehend their marginalized positions.

Kushner has also written the screenplay for Mike Nichols' film of "Angels in America" and Steven Spielberg's "Munich," as well as Spielberg's upcoming movie "Lincoln." His books include "But the Giraffe, a Curtain Raising and Brundibar: the Libretto," 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 has received myriad honors and awards. In addition to an Emmy, two Tony awards and the Pulitzer, he has received 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. In September 2008, Kushner became the first recipient of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the largest theater award in the U.S. He was also awarded the 2009 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement.

For more information, contact 812-856-1169 or