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John Guare - April 25, 2008

John Guare

Playwright

"How to Read a Play: The Theater and Society in the 21st Century"

8:00 PM Friday, April 25, 2008
UC North Ballroom

The dean of contemporary American playwrights, Mr. Guare has won multiple Tony Awards for a brilliant array of social satires and history plays. With insights gained from nearly fifty years as a dramatist, he will offer some caustically ironic commentary about the role of the theater in contemporary society.

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"Ripped from the Headlines: The Theatre and the World Around It"

3:10 PM Friday, April 25, 2008
Gallagher Business Building 123

You are cordially invited to attend a seminar with John Guare, the dean of contemporary American playwrights. He received his education at Georgetown (BA, 1960) and the Yale School of Drama (MFA, 1963). His early plays, mostly one-acts, exhibited a flair for the absurd. They included Wally Pantoni (1964), We Leave a Credenza (1964), Muzeeka (1968), and Cop-Out (1968). Muzeeka won an Obie in 1968. The House of Blue Leaves pushed his career sharply forward by winning the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for the Best American Play in 1971 and four Tony Awards for its 1986 revival at Lincoln Center Theater. This darkly comic satire about American life will be performed at UM’s Masquer Theatre between 22-26 April and 29 April-3 May. Chaucer in Rome, a sequel to House of Blue Leaves, received its world premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in July 1999 and later enjoyed a run in New York at Lincoln Center Theatre.

Mr. Guare’s later plays include Six Degrees of Separation (1990), an intricately plotted comedy of manners about an African-American confidence man who poses as the son of film star Sidney Poitier, won an Obie Award, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, and London’s Olivier Award for Best Play. It was made into a film in 1993. His cycle of history plays about nineteenth-century America—Gardenia, Lydie Breeze, and Women and Water—investigate the violence at the root of American identity and the failure of our utopian aspirations.

Musical theatre has been one of Mr. Guare’s most fruitful passions. He co-wrote with Mel Shapiro the libretto for Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971), which enjoyed a revival in 2005 at the Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park. He wrote the songs for Landscape of the Body and the narration for Psyche, a tone poem by César Franck. This production premiered at Avery Fischer Hall in October 1997 and was conducted by Kurt Masur with the New York Philharmonic. In 1999, he revised the book of the Cole Porter musical comedy Kiss Me, Kate for its Broadway revival. He also wrote the book for the Broadway musical Sweet Smell of Success.

Co-editor of the Lincoln Center Theater Review, he also co-produces the New Plays Reading Room Series at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.