(Teachout’s article appeared in the July issue of Commentary.)

Ever since his two-play cycle Angels in America opened on Broadway in 1993, Tony Kushner has been the sole American playwright to approach the pinnacle of broad-based cultural réclame that Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams attained in the 1940s and Edward Albee in the 1960s. One striking aspect of his celebrity is that critics are all but unanimous as to the merits of his work. Frank Rich called Angels “the most thrilling American play in years” in his New York Times review of the 1993 production, which was also Kushner’s Broadway debut. Since then, there has been scarcely any dissent from this categorical judgment, or from the notion that Kushner is, as Newsweek dubbed him in 2009, “the playwright at the heart of America’s cultural moment.”


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