Awards of Courage
Honoring with Pride 2004 Honoree
The Broadway production of Tony Kushner’s “masterful epic” Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes was a seven-hour presentation in two parts. It received a Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, the New York Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the Evening Standard Award, and the LAMBDA Literary Award for Drama. London’s National Theatre identified Angels in America as one of the 20th century’s ten best plays. Newsweek magazine described it as “the broadest, deepest, most searching American play of our time.” Mr. Kushner’s screen adaptation of the play, directed by Mike Nichols, premièred on HBO in 2003. His other plays include A Bright Room Called Day, Slavs! Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness, and Homebody/Kabul. In May 2004, the prescient Homebody/Kabul, directed by Frank Galati, was performed for three weeks at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; it is being adapted for film by Mira Nair.
Mr. Kushner has written adaptations of Goethe’s Stella, Brecht’s The Good Person of Setzuan, Ansky’s The Dybbuk, and Corneille’s The Illusion, as well as English-language libretti for the operas Brundibar by Hans Krasa and The Comedy on the Bridge by Bohuslav Martinu. With Mr. Kushner as playwright-librettist and Jeanine Tesori as composer, Caroline, or Change, opened in May 2004 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater, under the direction of George C. Wolfe.
In late 2003, Tony Kushner wrote the text for a children’s picture book Brundibar, based on the American version of the opera of the same name, which he crafted with the award-winning author-illustrator Maurice Sendak. Additionally, in 2003, he wrote the text for a survey book of Mr. Sendak’s illustrations and stage designs, The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present. And also in 2003, he and Alisa Solomon edited Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict.
Other awards presented to Mr. Kushner include three Obie Awards, a Whiting Writer's Fellowship, 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.