Millennial Stages

Essays and Reviews 2001-2005

Robert Brustein

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May 28, 2013
304 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
ISBN: 9780300203394
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A major figure in the world of theater as critic, playwright, scholar, teacher, director, actor, and producer, Robert Brustein offers a unique perspective on the American stage and its artists. In this wise, witty, and wide-ranging collection of recent writings, Brustein examines crucial issues relating to theater in the post-9/11 years, analyzing specific plays, emerging and established performers, and theatrical production throughout the world. Brustein relates our theater to our society in a manner that reminds us why the performing arts matter.
Millennial Stages records Brustein’s thinking on the important issues “roiling the national soul” at the start of the twenty-first century. His opening section explores the connections between theater and society, theater and politics, and theater and religion, and it is followed by reviews of such landmark productions as The Producers and Spamalot, Long Day’s Journey into Night and King Lear. In his final section, Brustein reflects on people and places of importance in the world of theater today, including Marlon Brando and Arthur Miller and Australia and South Africa.

Robert Brustein, founding director of the American Repertory Theatre and of the Yale Repertory Theatre, has been a key figure in American theater for the last forty years. Drama  critic for The New Republic since 1959, he is  the author of fourteen books, seven plays, and twelve adaptations. Now Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University, he lives in Cambridge, MA, with his wife, Doreen Beinart.

“Brustein not only provides an important chronicle of an ephemeral art but also applies a historically informed and sophisticated intellect to theater criticism.”—Jonathan Kalb, Hunter College, CUNY   

“Reading these essays by Robert Brustein is pleasurable, sometimes challenging, and always stimulating."—Christopher Durang, playwright

"As a writer, Robert Brustein is America’s most intelligent theatre critic/author."—Robert Wilson, Director

“Robert Brustein is the rarest of rare amphibians: a powerful theater practitioner who is also a powerful critic.  The essays in Millennial Stages, startlingly wide-ranging, energetic, and impressive, show Brustein at his best.  Savvy, fearless, opinionated, and fathomlessly curious, he is at once steeped in the classics and alert to the most recent tremors on the cultural seismograph.  Bravo!”—Stephen Greenblatt, author of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare 

 “Robert Brustein is an artist and intellect who has done more to connect the life of the theater and delight mind than any thinker since Eric Bentley. Brilliant and infuriating, his criticism is indispensable and his voice is irreplaceable. He ennobles our sometime tawdry profession with his integrity and intelligence.”—Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director, Public Theater

“Brustein pulls no punches, and his discerning wit frequently punctures the poseurs in the playhouse. His theater credentials inform each piece, and his erudition establishes the place of the performing arts in the larger context of post-9/11 American society. An outstanding contribution from an important cultural critic and leading American intellect; recommended.”—Library Journal

"One asset of Robert Brustein's 15th book is that the referenced productions are of very recent vintage, so for those who saw them, there's freshness to his prose. For those who didn't, his insight, detail, and ever-pithy humor allow readers a hint of what they missed."—Leonard Jacobs, Back Stage

"Everything Brustein touches, whether it's a review of an over-effusive book about Marlon Brando or a Shakespearean revival, calls forth a clear, analytical insight into its subject. . . . Because he is so knowledgeable, his frame of reference is wide, and the examples emerge relevant to the issues under discussion. It is something of a miracle to have been lodged for many years in both Yale and Harvard and still emerge sounding like a 'mensch'—i.e., pertinent and accessible."—Charles Marowitz, American Book Review
The Tainted Muse

Prejudice and Presumption in Shakespeare and His Time

Robert Brustein

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