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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 76)
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 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).


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 later enjoyed a production in New York by Lincoln Center Theater.

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.


All dramas for the stage unless otherwise noted.

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ John Guare. Three Exposures. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982. ISBN 9780151901784. Page viii.
  2. ^ http://www.adherents.com/people/pg/John_Guare.html

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Guare — Please support Wikipedia.
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2132 videos foundNext > 

John Guare, Playwright of Six Degrees of Separation

Interview with Six Degrees of Separation Playwright, John Guare.


Premieres MARCH 4th, 2013 on HBO: Tony award-winning playwright John Guare explores Rome, Italy with four aspiring playwrights as he helps them discover thei...

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Hilton Als talks with Edie Falco and John Guare - Conversations - The New Yorker

Hilton Als talks with Edie Falco and John Guare about the current Broadway staging of his play “The House of Blue Leaves”. Watch The New Yorker on The Scene:...

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37 news items

Broadway World
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:22:30 -0700

John Guare has written a new play commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Rockwell Group. Between, a new 10-minute play, will have its world premiere performance on Monday, November 3 at NeueHouse at an event celebrating the launch of the ...
Jacksonville Journal-Courier
Wed, 22 Oct 2014 04:21:54 -0700

Popularized by John Guare's 1990 novel and the 1993 film “Six Degrees of Separation,” there is a theory that everyone on Earth may be six or fewer steps of association away from being connected to everyone else. For Jacksonville's Kevin Eckhoff, his ...
Boston Globe
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:08:05 -0700

Previous recipients include directors Oskar Eustis, Andrei Serban, and David Wheeler; actors Mary-Louise Parker, John Douglas Thompson, and Sam Waterston; and playwrights John Guare and Tony Kushner. The award ceremony will take place Oct. 27.

New York Times

New York Times
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:27:29 -0700

(Despite his anxiety, the month before “Meet John Doe” opened, Mr. Gerle became the first composer to receive the Richard Rodgers Award for musical theater four times, from a jury including Stephen Sondheim, John Guare and Jeanine Tesori. The next ...

Gaston Gazette

Gaston Gazette
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 11:56:15 -0700

The Little Theater of Gastonia's 2014-15 season continues with John Guare's play “The House of Blue Leaves.” This comic tragedy, directed by W. James Schmitt, tells the story of a struggling songwriter caught between his sense of loyalty, ambition, ...
LA Weekly
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:51:46 -0700

Major said he would help Kratlian enroll in college, perhaps even pay for it. Babitz compares it to John Guare's play Six Degrees of Separation: "There are people who think they can get across the wonders of life and all that [to] people that are out ...
Broadway World
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:41:15 -0700

... play about spouses revolting against each another was revolutionary in its brutally honest depiction of marital discord and psychological warfare, and influenced an array of 20th century playwrights, not the least of whom are Edward Albee and John ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0700

Playwright John Guare writes, "Could this be the best theater book I've ever read?" Mr. Lahr, the author of 18 books, was the senior drama critic of the New Yorker for more than two decades. The book, which comes out in the U.S. this week, is 765 pages ...

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