Renowned screenwriter and creator of Angels in America, playwright Tony Kushner will make his first live appearance in Tulsa on Sunday, April 18, 2010. Following a festive public dinner, Kushner will speak at The Synagogue: Congregation B'nai Emunah in the annual public lecture series, Talking Heads. In a departure from the lecture format, Kushner will be interviewed on this occasion by noted actor and filmmaker Tim Blake Nelson.

Fearless, provocative, and outrageously funny, Tony Kushner is one of the great  dramatic voices of our time. In plays dealing with the most challenging themes-AIDS, racism, the rise of fascism, war-he offers portraits of the powerless and the marginalized and brings them to luminous and sympathetic life. Frank Rich of The New York Times sees his larger importance: "Some playwrights want to change the world. Some want to revolutionize theater. Tony Kushner is that rarity of rarities: a writer who has the promise to do both."

Born in New York City and raised in Louisiana, Kushner is best known for his multi-part epic, Angels in America. The landmark film featured mesmerizing performances by Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, and Jeffrey White.  His other plays include Homebody/Kabul and Caroline, or Change. Kushner has translated Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children and the libretto for the children's opera Brundibár by Hans Krasa. He also wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's Munich and is currently working on the director's upcoming film, Lincoln.

Talking Heads interviewer Tim Blake Nelson has deep roots in Tulsa and has enjoyed an important career as a writer, actor, and filmmaker.  Nelson's debut play, Eye of God was produced at Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1992. The Grey Zone premiered at MCC Theater in New York in 1996 where his 1998 work Anadarko was also produced. Nelson has appeared as an actor in the film, TV and theatre. He had a featured role as Delmar in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? According to directors Joel and Ethan Coen, he was the only one in the cast or crew who had read Homer's Odyssey, a work upon which the film is loosely based. Leaves of Grass, Nelson's new film, will make its debut in Tulsa on the weekend of Talking Heads.

Featured guest Tony Kushner has enjoyed enormous critical praise for his work and is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, an Emmy Award, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, and an Oscar nomination. Kushner is the subject of a documentary film, Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner, made by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock.

Kushner's live interview with Tim Blake Nelson will cap a feast of flame-grilled kabobs and all the accompaniments. That dinner ("Kabobs and Kushner") will feature a classic basmati rice and lentil pilaf, hummus with grilled za'atar pita, Mediterranean salad, angels-in-America-food cake, and other classic desserts. Dinner will begin at 5:45 p.m., with the lecture at 7:00 p.m.

Talking Heads is a benefit event; tickets for dinner and general event seating may be purchased for $50. For preferred seating, add $10. Dinner and lecture reservations may be made by calling the Synagogue at 583-7121 or writing reservations@bnaiemunah.com by Friday, April 9. Space is limited, so call as soon as possible.

The cost for the lecture alone is $25 for general seating and $36 for preferred seating. Let us know if you'd like us to hold tickets at the door; we would be glad to accommodate you.