This fall, The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Andrew D. Hamingson, Executive Director) will launch The Public Forum, an exciting new series of lectures, debates and conversations that showcase leading voices in the arts, politics and the media. Curated by Jeremy McCarter, a senior writer at Newsweek, Public Forum events are open to the general public. Tickets for the inaugural event can be purchased for $25 beginning Tuesday, October 5. Member tickets are on sale Tuesday, September 28.
The Public Forum will explore issues that are raised by plays in The Public's season, as well as the political and cultural headlines of the day. In keeping with the best traditions of The Public, the Forum will host a wide diversity of views and bring the theater into contact with the society around it. The programs are standalone events, not post-show talkbacks.
"The Public has always seen the theater as part of a wider cultural conversation, a place where the biggest issues of our society can be enacted, contemplated, and debated," said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "The Public Forum is an integral addition to that mission, and Jeremy McCarter is a wonderful addition to our team. His breadth of insight and interests, passion for both theater and ideas, and tremendous sophistication make him an ideal leader for The Public Forum."
The first Public Forum event, "Chasing The Green Light," coincides with The Public's acclaimed production of GATZ and will take place on Monday, October 18 at 8 p.m. The evening will explore F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel The Great Gatsby and how the country's recent troubles have affected the American dream. Sam Waterston is the host for the evening.
The three-part, 90-minute evening will begin with a writers' roundtable on Fitzgerald's legacy, featuring Michael Friedman (composer/lyricist, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Jay McInerney (author of Bright Lights, Big City and How It Ended), and Suzan-Lori Parks (Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Topdog/Underdog). Following the roundtable, Arianna Huffington (co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post) will discuss her new book, Third World America, and trade views on money and the changing American dream with Reihan Salam (contributor to National Review and co-author of Grand New Party). The evening will close with a personal account of how tenuous American dreams can be: readings from the heartbreaking letters that Zelda Fitzgerald wrote to her husband Scott over the course of their beautiful and damned life together. Additional participants will be announced closer to the event date.
"Who Lost America?", the season's second Public Forum event, will be held in conjunction with the New York premiere of Lisa Kron's In The Wake. Leading voices from across the political spectrum and the arts will consider how our society has changed in the ten years since Bush v. Gore, and what we can do to fix what ails us today. The provocative conversation is scheduled for Monday, November 15.
The Public Forum's fall season will conclude on Monday, November 29 when two giants of the American theater meet on The Public Theater stage. Stephen Sondheim will mark the publication of his new memoir and lyric anthology, Finishing the Hat, by discussing his book, his craft, and the theatrical life with a riveting one-on-one discussion with Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Caroline, or Change). The evening will be hosted by Rocco Landesman, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who has produced shows by both writers.