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John Guare
John Guare at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Guare at the 2009 premiere of PoliWood
Born (1938-02-05) February 5, 1938 (age 77)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Playwright
Nationality American
Alma mater Georgetown University,
Yale School of Drama
Period 1964–present
Notable works The House of Blue Leaves; Six Degrees of Separation

John Guare (rhymes with "air"; born February 5, 1938) is an American playwright. He is best known as the author of The House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation, and Landscape of the Body. His style, which mixes comic invention with an acute sense of the failure of human relations and aspirations, is at once cruel and deeply compassionate.

In the foreword to a collection of Guare's plays, film director Louis Malle writes:

Guare practices a humor that is synonymous with lucidity, exploding genre and clichés, taking us to the core of human suffering: the awareness of corruption in our own bodies, death circling in. We try to fight it all by creating various mythologies, and it is Guare's peculiar aptitude for exposing these grandiose lies of ours that makes his work so magical.[1]

Early life[edit]

Guare was born in New York City and raised in Jackson Heights, Queens. He was raised a Roman Catholic, but is apparently now a lapsed Catholic.[2] He was educated at St. John's Preparatory School and Georgetown University (BA, 1960), where in 1958 he contributed a song to an original musical revue entitled The Natives Are Restless and presented by the Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society. The song humorously attributed the success of many famous people to the syllable "O" in their names. Under the direction of Donn B. Murphy, his play The Toadstool Boy, about a country singer's quest for fame, won first place in the District of Columbia Recreation Department's One-Act-Play competition.

In 1949 his father suffered a heart attack and subsequently moved the family to Ellenville, New York while he recovered. His father's beloved Aunt Teen and other relatives lived there, making it an idyllic experience for John. John did not regularly attend school in Ellenville because the school's daily practices were not in keeping with the recommendations of the Catholic Church, causing his father to suspect the school had communist leanings. Instead of attending school, John was assigned home study and took exams intermittently, which allowed him time to go to the movies and see all the hits of the time. This had a lasting influence on John, and his career, later in life.

In 1960, the Mask and Bauble presented The Thirties Girl, a musical for which Guare did the book, much of the music and the lyrics, again under Murphy's tutelage. Set in Hollywood's turbulent 1920s, it dealt with the dethronement of a reigning diva by a fresh-faced starlet. Guare went on to the Yale School of Drama (MFA, 1963).

Career[edit]

Guare's early plays, mostly comic one-acts exhibiting a flair for the absurd, include To Wally Pantoni, We Leave a Credenza (1964), Muzeeka (1968), and Cop-Out (1968). The House of Blue Leaves (1971), a domestic drama by turns wildly comic and despairingly poignant, moved Guare into the front ranks of American dramatists. Chaucer in Rome, a sequel to The House of Blue Leaves, received its world premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in July 1999 and was produced Off-Broadway in 2001 at Lincoln Center Theater's Newhouse Theater.[3]

Later plays include Marco Polo Sings a Solo, Bosoms and Neglect, Moon Over Miami, Six Degrees of Separation, and Four Baboons Adoring the Sun. Lake Hollywood and A Few Stout Individuals (2002) both received their world premieres at Signature Theatre. 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, has been the most highly praised and widely produced of Guare's full-length plays. It was made into a film in 1993.

Guare’s cycle of plays on nineteenth-century America, Gardenia, Lydie Breeze and Women and Water, has been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., London and Australia. A Few Stout Individuals returns to nineteenth century America, with a cast that includes Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, soprano Adelina Patti and the Emperor and Empress of Japan. These historic dramas investigate the violence at the root of American identity and the failure of utopian aspirations.

Guare has also been involved with musical theatre. His libretto with Mel Shapiro for the musical Two Gentlemen of Verona was a success when it premiered in 1971 and was revived in 2005 at the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park. It won the two men the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical. He wrote the songs for Landscape of the Body. Guare wrote narration for '"Psyche,"' a tone poem by César Franck, which premiered at Avery Fisher Hall in October 1997, 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 (musical).

Guare wrote the screenplay for Louis Malle's film Atlantic City (1980), for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

He was a founding member in 1965 of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut and Resident Playwright at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1976. He is a council member of the Dramatists Guild, co-editor of the Lincoln Center Theater Review, co-produces the New Plays Reading Room Series at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts and teaches in the Playwriting department at the Yale School of Drama.

Works[edit]

All dramas for the stage unless otherwise noted.

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Guare. Three Exposures. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982. ISBN 9780151901784. Page viii.
  2. ^ http://www.adherents.com/people/pg/John_Guare.html
  3. ^ " Chaucer in Rome Listing" lct.org, accessed June 30, 2015

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Guare — Please support Wikipedia.
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1531 news items

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:52:30 -0700

What we get are a lot of laughs, under the direction of Jerry Zaks (returning to the house where he first regaled us with John Guare's House of Blue Leaves and Six Degrees of Separation). Over the course of the evening, though, entertainment is ...

The Villager

The Villager
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 12:58:22 -0700

Playwrights included H. M. Koutoukas, Lanford Wilson (15 of this Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright's first plays were done at the Cino); William M. Hoffman (“As Is”); John Guare (“Six Degrees of Separation”); Paul Foster (“Balls”); Sam Shepard; Doric ...

Almanac Weekly

Almanac Weekly
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:56:15 -0700

Inside Look workshops at Powerhouse 2015 will include Desire, six new short plays based on Tennessee Williams stories by superstar playwrights Beth Henley and John Guare, as well as Elizabeth Egloff, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman and David Grimm.

New York Times

New York Times
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 22:15:00 -0700

“Desire,” six plays based on stories by Tennessee Williams by Elizabeth Egloff, Marcus Gardely, Rebecca Gilman, David Grimm, John Guare and Beth Henley. Directed by Michael Wilson. July 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and July 5 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. $30. Powerhouse ...
 
Playbill.com
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:52:25 -0700

In August, the Acting Company will present Desire, six new plays based on stories by Tennessee Williams adapted by leading playwrights John Guare, Beth Henley, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, David Grimm and Elizabeth Egloff. Michael Wilson will ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Fri, 12 Jun 2015 12:07:30 -0700

Her audience has included Liza Minnelli, John Guare, Arlene Dahl, authors such as Dominick Dunne and legendary socialites such as Daisy Soros, Pat Buckley, Ivana Trump, Nan Kempner, Taki Theorocopulos, Carolyne Roehm and legendary record ...

WBUR

WBUR
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 02:33:45 -0700

Boyd will also direct “His Girl Friday,” the comedy adapted for the stage by Tony Award-winner John Guare (Aug. 6-30). But before then do try to catch Neil Simon's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Lost in Yonkers.” History is turned back once again ...

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter
Tue, 09 Jun 2015 16:22:23 -0700

The Dramatists Guild membership includes such distinguished American playwrights as Edward Albee, Christopher Durang, Jules Feiffer, John Guare, Tony Kushner, Terrence McNally and Lynn Nottage, as well as composers such as Stephen Sondheim, ...
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