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Robert Brustein
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Robert Brustein is a veteran of World War II, a former Professor of English at Harvard University, former drama critic for The New Republic and former Dean of the Yale Drama School. He is now a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University.

He was the founding director of the Yale Repertory Theatre (not to mention Yale Cabaret and Yale Theatre magazine) and also the American Repertory Theatre where he served for 20 years as Artistic Director. During this time he founded the ART Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. Having retired from that post in 2002, he now serves as Founding Director. He is the author of eighteen books (his first being The Theatre of Revolt), twelve adaptations (Including the Klezmer musical Shlemiel The First), and eight plays (including a trilogy about Shakespeare). New Repertory Theatre is about to produce his new Klezmer musical with Hankus Netsky called King of the Schnorrers, and a political satire called Exposed is scheduled for next year. His latest book is Winter Passages. He has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, and was awarded the 2010 Medal of Arts by President Obama at the White House. He is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters, where he was honored for his contributions to the arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Entries by Robert Brustein

The New Plutocracy

(1) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 7:09 PM

Many of us are deeply grieved by the recent events surrounding The New Republic, where Chris Hughes, its current publisher, having rejected the magazine's time-honored intellectual purpose in favor of a profitable new web initiative, effectively caused the demise of a respected hundred-year-old institution. The new ownership, responding to the...

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Nothing Will Come of Something

(36) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 3:41 PM

Furious over Barack Obama's recent executive orders, House Speaker John Boehner announced today that he would sue the president for doing something about health care, and institute impeachment proceedings against him for trying to fix immigration and climate change. Obama, Boehner suggests, has failed to recognize that doing something in...

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School for Crime

(1) Comments | Posted September 13, 2014 | 11:56 AM

Recent events are proving that a criminal record, or least the promise of a criminal proceeding, has become an essential requirement for holding or pursuing political office. Sexual scandal, of course, has always been a condition of political life -- vide Francois Hollande simultaneously cheating on three different women or...

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A Terrorist Ph.D

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 9:01 AM

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, brutal head of ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham), is not only a terrorist leader, but a poet with a Ph.D. from Baghdad's Islamic University. We have just managed to obtain a transcript of his doctoral defense of his dissertation, "On Creating an International Caliphate,"...

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Busy Obama, Lazy Congress

(100) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 4:32 PM

Since his presidency began, and as of June 14, 2014, President Barack Obama will have made 36 international trips to 47 different countries, in addition to the Vatican and the West Bank. This, in addition to his frequent visits to domestic sites such as tornado and hurricane disaster areas, not...

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The Apple Impasse

(7) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 11:19 PM

Among the number of Apple product users (I would give you the precise figure if Google didn't require a password), I wonder how many billions have been as frustrated as I am over Apple's password requirements. I do know my wife is one of them, since she has been on...

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Winter of Discontent

(1) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 11:35 AM

For many educated people in America, the post-millennial years have seemed like one long winter of discontent, and we have yet to see much sign of glorious summer. Among those feeling more than their customary quota of gloom I count myself, admittedly a traditionally disgruntled commentator (whose early writings were...

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Return of the Booboisie

(94) Comments | Posted October 4, 2013 | 12:38 PM

"Absolute reason expired at eleven o'clock last night," a character shouts in the mad scene from Ibsen's Peer Gynt. That certainly seems to describe the mental condition of present-day America. A group of lunatics, self-named after Boston's Tea Party, but actually descended from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Alice...

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Lay Off Obama

(498) Comments | Posted August 29, 2013 | 4:12 PM

Sometimes I think we elected Barack Obama president only in order to abuse him. You can disagree about the kind of job he has been doing for the past six years. I happen to believe he has been a remarkable leader -- patient, thoughtful, dignified, unruffled -- under very trying...

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Arab Spring Forward, Arab Fall Back

(33) Comments | Posted July 11, 2013 | 8:22 PM

The chaos we are witnessing these days in the Middle East reflects not only a failure of American policy but also a pitiful lack of American self-knowledge. For some reason, hardly because of the current dynamic of government in Washington, we have been trying to convince the Arab world that...

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The Like Generation

(70) Comments | Posted May 4, 2013 | 10:22 AM

In the '60s and '70s, young people were referred to as the "Love Generation," partly because of their insistence on sexual freedom, which they proposed as an alternative ("make love, not war") to the Vietnam conflict. Today's young people could be more accurately identified as the "Like Generation," for reasons that...

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Tenth Anni-VERSE-ary of Iraq

(1) Comments | Posted March 25, 2013 | 4:34 PM

This speech (from Henry V) should be recited every day in front of a mirror by Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, and quite a few other members of the previous administration.

But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath
a heavy reckoning to make, when all...

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Philip Roth at 80: Tales Told Out of Schul

(11) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 11:36 AM

Philip Roth, who has just turned eighty, has been writing novels, stories, essays, autobiographical books, and other species of cultural provocation for over half a century now. Claiming that literary composition is a form of mental anguish and physical agony (he writes standing up to spare a bad back), he...

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A Modest Proposal

(2) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 3:59 PM

I herewith submit a modest proposal for helping to relieve the suffering about to be caused by sequestration. The Republicans want to cut government spending rather than raise taxes. Why don't they start with themselves? I suggest cutting the salaries of all our political representatives by two-thirds. For reasons I'll...

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'Breaking News'

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2013 | 1:51 PM


Members of the NRA armed with assault rifles entered the House of Representatives today and took over the Speaker's platform, pushing Representative Boehner to the floor. Claiming that such weapons were constitutionally mandated in order to maintain a well-regulated militia, the NRA spokesman added that Terrorists, Looters,...

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Gun Play

(0) Comments | Posted December 24, 2012 | 5:56 PM

Scene: The teller's window of a local bank in Tombstone, Arizona. A well-dressed man walks up to the window, where the teller is counting cash, puts a gun to his forehead, and speaks:

I am a bank robber, and this is a holdup. Hand over your cash.

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The Press Assess the Gettysburg Address

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2012 | 6:18 PM

We hear the concluding phrases of the Gettysburg address being spoken by Abraham Lincoln, while three TV panelists, a male anchor (Wolf), a male commentator (Sean), and a female pundit (Rachel), prepare to air their comments on the event.

-- and that government of the...

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Theater and the University: Marriages and Misalliances

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2012 | 11:13 AM

Remarks made to the Theater Communications Group panel on "Theater and the University" at the Park Plaza Hotel (June 22, 2012)

My name is Robert Brustein. Welcome to Boston and thank you for coming. Our subject today is the wedding between the professional theater and the university -- a marriage...

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The Comfort Zone

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2011 | 9:26 AM

(A room. Totally unfurnished, except for a gleaming white toilet in the middle of the stage. Two windows. Sounds of explosions and occasional gunfire outside. Two Uzi automatic rifles against the wall. Pete, with a manual in hand, and Sally on stage contemplating the toilet with awed reverence.)

SALLY. Fantastic.

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The New Anarchists

(76) Comments | Posted November 10, 2011 | 11:04 AM

At the same time that many Republicans are calling President Obama a Socialist, the Grand Old Party is becoming indistinguishable from the most radical revolutionary movement in world history.

I refer to Anarchism, the political theory that holds the state to be unnecessary and invidious, a constraint on the...

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