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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 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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2325 videos foundNext > 

John Guare, Neil Pepe & Omar Sangare discuss 3 Kinds of Exile

The Atlantic Theater Company and Strand Bookstore join forces again to present John Guare, Neil Pepe, and Omar Sangare in conversation on 3 Kinds of Exile, m...

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...

Duologue - John Guare & Peter Shaffer pt. 1 of 9

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:...

Are You There, McPhee? - John Guare

A Nantucket house with a mysterious past. A pair of abandoned children. An 11 pound lobster. Master playwright John Guare (House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees ...

Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare Presented by FAU Theatre

Join us for the first play of the 2010-2011 school year! John Guare's "Six Degrees of Separation" is inspired by a real-life con artist who shows up on the d...

About the Arts: John Guare, Albert Innaurato, 1977

Interviewer: Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel Part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Video Archive in the Duke University Libraries: http://library.duke.edu/dig...

Duologue - John Guare & Peter Shaffer p. 2 of 9

"The House of Blue Leaves" by John Guare on Broadway

30 TV commercial with John Mahoney and Swoosie Kurtz.

2325 videos foundNext > 

1350 news items

New York Times

New York Times
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:45:00 -0800

ENGLEWOOD Bergen Performing Arts Center “Landscape of the Body,” drama by John Guare. Through March 1. $32 and $37. Bergen Performing Arts Center, 30 North Van Brunt Street. 201-227-1030; bergenpac.org. HACKETTSTOWN Centenary Stage ...

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 11:30:00 -0800

Will Smith is Paul, a compulsive con man and irresistibly charming prevaricator in a comedy of manners—good, bad and acquired—that Fred Schepisi directed from John Guare's adaptation of his own dazzling play. The cast includes Stockard Channing, ...

EDGE Boston

EDGE Boston
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:18:45 -0800

The Gamm, a small theatre with a big impact in Pawtucket, RI, will explore fame, success and triumphant failure in their production of John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves." The show runs from March 5 through April 5, but with less than 150 seats in ...

New York Times

New York Times
Fri, 20 Feb 2015 20:52:21 -0800

27 through March 15. $20. South Camden Theater Company, Waterfront South Theater. 866-811-4111; southcamdentheatre.org. ENGLEWOOD Bergen Performing Arts Center “Landscape of the Body,” drama by John Guare. Through March 1. $32 and $37.

The Independent

The Independent
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:00:42 -0800

One of Will Smith's first and best films was as a con artist in the big-screen adaptation of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation. In the romantic thriller Focus, Smith is again playing a hustler and shows his familiar charm and charisma. The film ...
Broadway World
Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:59:20 -0800

The evening's entertainment included a special world premiere of John Guare's 10-minute play, performed by Stockard Channing and Mr. Guare, and directed by Jack O'Brien; as well as a musical performance by Tony-nominee Annaleigh Ashford.
Sun, 02 Nov 2014 20:07:30 -0800

John Guare has written a new play to commemorate the 30th anniversary of famed architecture and scenic design house Rockwell Group titled Between – a new 10-minute short – which will have its world premiere Nov. 3 at NeueHouse (110 E. 25th Street).

The Tennessean

The Tennessean
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 17:34:42 -0800

And the USN Student Theatre Guild's spring production is John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves" at 5 p.m. March 26 and 7 p.m. March 27-28 in the USN auditorium. Donations will be accepted for a local charity. Details on all of these can be found at ...

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