The Sunday Giveaway: 2 Tickets to The Illusion by Tony Kushner

Quick . . . . give me a list of the 3 most influential playwrights of the last twenty years.

Was Tony Kushner on the list?  Was he at or near the top?

He should have been.

Signature Theatre’s Tony Kushner season continues with The Illusion, his “most theatrical play” and surprise, surprise, we’re giving away two tickets!

Here’s how to win:

Who do you think is the Tony Kushner of tomorrow?  Here’s your chance to plug the playwright that you think we’re going to be talking about in twenty years.  I don’t care if it’s your friend, your family member, or an author of something you saw at the Fringe festival.  Just tell me who you believe in.  Bonus points for a few words as to what makes this playwright’s works stick in your craw, like Tony’s.

Go and good luck!


(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)



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  • Susan says:

    Camille Harris because The Muffin Man made me laugh.

  • Reg says:

    Tarell McCraney. Like Kushner, he is giving voice to his community through mythic explorations in theatricality, style and substance. A true visionary and remarkable talent!

  • EllenFD says:

    Lynn Nottage. Her RUINED was amazing. Her latest, BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK, was funny as well as gave you something to think about. Her insights into human behavior, from the ridiculous to the sublime, are spot-on.

  • Patrick says:

    David Lindsay-Abaire — though not as operatic in his approach to storytelling, his works are quietly devastating and pack the same punch as a Kushner play.

  • Dana Marie says:

    Amy Herzog – for my generation – she is able to capture the behavioral situations of the now in a sophisticated, smart way that resonates with the new young intellectuals

  • Porsche says:

    Virginia Grise. Her work always surprises me with the power of theatricality and how intense I feel about it after.

  • Rebecca L. says:

    I can’t think of a writer who’s work continues again and again to stick with me excepting Adam Rapp. His writing is NOTHING like Kushner’s and he doesn’t approach politics in his writing as Kusher has, but he is a writer of PEOPLE and CHARACTERS and HUMAN STORIES. I think he speaks for a generation of incredibly flawed, sincere human beings who are going through their lives as genuinely as they know how to (I am thinking in particular of his ‘Kindness’ and ‘The Metal Children’). He is a voice of people that feel like me.

  • Joe L. says:

    Hi, Ken,
    I think that Sarah Ruhl will be in the running for the best playwright. All the best to you, Ken. Thanks for writing the blog and the emails to your subscribers. You always have something amazing to say.

  • Rosie says:

    Lynn Nottage–From Intimate Apparel to Ruined to By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Nottage addresses the varied experiences of women of African descent with the rigor of a well researched scholar, while entertaining and enlightening the audience with storytelling techniques that create memories that linger in the mind long after the curtain falls. She speaks to the strength and resiliance of women with wit, cleverness, empathy, and insight–and reaches emotional depths that illuminate the human condition.

  • Yosi Merves says:

    I think Michael McKeever could have a lasting impact over the next 20 years. Rajiv Joseph is also showing a lot of potential.

  • Duncan says:

    Joshua Conkel. He’s raw, real, fantastical, and doesn’t pull any punches. He fucking rocks.

  • Jordan Levine says:

    Zachary Fernebok. He draws inspiration from real-life occurrences and brings them into sensational worlds. His stories are compelling, exciting, and engaging and I’m so glad to be friends with an artist constantly striving to improve his craft. He’s incredibly talented and working to reach the surface now, so in twenty years time, I can only imagine what it’ll mean for him to hit his stride.

  • Brian Cullen says:

    Geoffrey Naufft – NEXT FALL was funny, insightful and 2 years after seeing it I still think about it frequently. His ability to create something so specific that it was universal is the mark of a great artist!

  • I am. My new play dEAd dOG pARk just finished a successful run at the Shades Rep in Haverstraw, NY and its subject is both controversial and new to the stage. It is about a white police officer accused of pushing an African American teenager out of a four story window. I believe that the play and the story has legs and you will be hearing about this piece in a big way.

  • Mary says:

    Neil LaBute– I love his stark, honest, almost crude criticism of our society’s obsession with body image. I think about it quite often and even if sometimes it is a bit loud and in your face story-telling, he gets his point across really well and I’ve come across some brilliant characters that he’s created. Love him!!

  • Lindsay B says:

    My top three would have to be:
    Theresa Rebeck
    Ronan Noone
    Nathan Louis Jackson
    Rebeck’s style and wit are timeless, yet her ability to so carefully articulate the current pop culture zeitgeist is uncanny. In particular “Our House” and “The Understudy” managed to be entertaining yet beguiling. A play about a B-list action star in a lost Kafka play that should have been directed by Orson Welles training his understudy should not be a hit, it should be examined by shrinks and considered absurd dreck. Yet, somehow the characters shine, and take each other so seriously that the audience wants to find out what happens to them, if the understudy will ever get to grace the stage.
    Ronan Noone’s “The Atheist” is one of my favorite plays of the last decade. It is a one-man show that is a careful balancing act for any intrepid performer. It’s difficult to draw the roles and narrative being described without being malaise, but Augustine Early via Noone’s scripting manages to convey all the heartbreak and humor of his foibles in journalism. I can’t wait to read what else he has done, if its half as good as this then he’s a name to be buzzing about.
    Nathan Louis Jackson’s “Broke-o-logy” was a superb Off-Broadway debut. He seamlessly blended reality with fantasy to give provocative insight into the group conscience and dynamics of a fractured family. His characters are vivid, his words poignant, and his meanings clear without being patronizing.

  • WC says:

    Based only on BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO, I’m thinking that Rajiv Joseph has qualities that remind me of Kushner. They’re both unafraid of big ideas, multifaceted political thinking, and ambitious theatrical devices. BENGAL TIGER was flawed in some ways, but it was exciting to see such an ambitious play written by a young American playwright landing on Broadway. I can’t think of the last time that’s happened, maybe not since Tony Kushner’s ANGELS IN AMERICA.
    Other names that come to mind are Bruce Norris, Lynn Nottage, Christopher Shinn and Amy Herzog.

  • gj cabana says:

    Alex Timbers. “A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant,” “Boozy: The Life, Death, and Subsequent Vilification of Le Corbusier and, More Importantly, Robert Moses,” and “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” reveal a writer willing to combine information, history, and satire in ways that could one day rival Kushner as he matures in age and interests.

  • Bob Ferrante says:

    Jason Grote is a visionary playwright with the ability to merge multiple channels of story and idea into one seamless whole.
    Also, similar to Kushner, and in fact emboldened by him, Bob Jude Ferrante’s (my own) work is chock full of exciting ideas and our culture’s approach to politics is never far away from the storyline.

  • ECP says:

    Billy Shakespeare. Drama, comedy, history, the man does it all. His work is timeless and lends itself to rediscovery generation after generation.
    (More recently, Bathsheba Doran made me sit up and take notice.)

  • Margarita Viera says:

    Trey Park and Matt Stone of South Park. The gleefully obscene and subversive satire, Book of Mormon is one of the funniest shows to grace the Great White Way since The Producers And Urinetown.

  • Al says:

    I too was here to nominate Mr. Tarell McCraney, with a specific nod to his The Brother/Sister Plays. Seeing the three premiere at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, I got the chills as the thought crossed my mind that I was truly witnessing the birth of something brilliant. His plays tell the story of the personal and the epic at the same time and he’s a force to be reckoned with – if I dare to think what gifts we’ll have from him 20 years from now, I literally get SO excited. Few people do that for me, and his work is such poetry!

  • Rick Hinkson says:

    BILL CAIN, author of my favorite play last year, EQUIVOCATION. there was SO much happening: the politics and religion, the interpersonal dynamics within the acting company, and finally, the incredibly touching resolution of the father/daughter story. gorgeous.

  • Robin says:

    I agree with those who’ve mentioned Rajiv Joseph and Adam Rapp. I would also add Annie Baker. Circle Mirror Transformation and The Aliens were two of the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve ever seen. The way Baker is able to tell a thoroughly compelling and profound story using gibberish or even silence is astonishing. (And in our ADD-addled world, she is incredibly brave and should be commended for using silence and stillness.) Plus, I just saw a one act she wrote and directed – there’s nothing this lady can’t do!

  • Dan says:

    Noah Haidle is onto something, if he can stay in theater. These days that’s a hard bet to make now that television has realized people actually care about the writing, especially for someone with such a knack for razor-sharp dialog. MR. MARMALADE is an amazing play, and it’s a bummer it got such a terrible production in NYC. His work is innately theatrical, which I don’t think can be said for LaBute, Guirgis, or really most new work produced on Broadway.

  • Lynn Nottage if providing a voice for those we havn’t heard from before, and presenting the struggles and challenges of african women with such power and intrigue. She’s brilliant

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