Robert Brustein, a towering figure in American theater, left us on October 29, 2023, at 96. With roles spanning from theater critic to producer, playwright, writer, and educator, Brustein’s influence on American theater and culture was profound. His multifaceted contributions have not only shaped the course of modern theater but have also enriched the lives of many who were fortunate enough to witness or partake in his endeavors.
Robert’s journey from the bustling streets of New York City, where he was born on April 21, 1927, to the hallowed halls of Yale, Harvard, and Suffolk universities, showcases a life dedicated to the arts, culture, and academia.
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Just learned of the passing of Robert Brustein, founder of @yalerep and @americanrep. My earliest theatregoing as a teen was in his later years at Yale, where his adventurous spirit was formative to my understanding of what theatre could be.
— Howeird Scareman (@HESherman) October 29, 2023
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Summary of Robert Brustein
|Birth||April 21, 1927, New York City|
|Education||BA from Amherst, MA, and PhD from Columbia University|
|Career||Theater critic, Dean of Yale School of Drama, founder of two repertory theaters|
|Notable Works||“The Theatre of Revolt,” “Cultural Calisthenics,” and play “The English Channel.”|
|Awards||Guggenheim Fellowship, National Medal of Arts, membership in the American Theater Hall of Fame|
Early Life and Education
Born amidst the renaissance of New York City in 1927, Robert’s early life was deeply embedded in culture. His educational endeavors took him to Amherst College for his BA, followed by Columbia University, where he earned his MA and PhD. This foundation prepared him for a life immersed in theater and criticism.
Brustein’s career is a testament to his versatility. Starting as a theater critic for prominent outlets like The New Republic and HuffPost, he climbed the academic ladder to become the Dean of the Yale School of Drama. His visionary leadership led to the creation of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theater. Moreover, his academic pursuits made him a professor of English at Harvard and, later, a distinguished scholar at Suffolk University.
Beyond his administrative and academic roles, Brustein was a prolific writer. His seminal works include “The Theatre of Revolt: An Approach to Modern Drama” and “Cultural Calisthenics: Writings on Race, Politics, and Theatre.” His flair for drama was evident in plays such as “The English Channel,” “Demons,” and “Exposed,” all of which resonated deeply with audiences.
Awards and Honors
Throughout his illustrious career, accolades frequently graced Brustein. He was honored with the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1965 and the National Medal of Arts in 2010. Furthermore, his contributions to theater earned him spots in the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Robert Brustein’s life is an inspiring tapestry of dedication, passion, and brilliance. His enduring legacy in American theater remains an unparalleled testament to his love for the arts. For generations of theater enthusiasts, artists, and scholars, Brustein’s work remains a beacon, urging them to push boundaries and explore the depths of theatrical expression. Delving into his writings and contributions provides a window into the genius of a man who has genuinely shaped modern theater.
Q: When was Robert Brustein born?
A: He was born on April 21, 1927, in New York City.
Q: What are some of Robert Brustein’s notable works?
A: Some of his standout works include “The Theatre of Revolt” and the play “The English Channel.”
Q: Which universities did Robert Brustein serve as a professor?
A: He was a professor at Yale, Harvard, and Suffolk universities.
Q: When did Robert Brustein pass away?
A: Robert Brustein died on October 29, 2023, at 96.