The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

John Guare

John Guare

Born on Saturday, February 5, 1938

Interviewed on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Location: At his home
Interviewed by: Casey Childs
Interview #38
Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik
"The world changed because those boundaries between Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and Broadway had come down."
John Guare Highlights
Video Length: 5 Minutes, 25 Seconds
John Guare Interview
Video Length: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes

John Guare is an American playwright. His Off-Broadway career began with a double-billed one-act show written with Sam Shepard titled MUZEEKA/RED CROSS (1968), at the Provincetown Playhouse. Guare's other Off-Broadway credits include: THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES (1971), TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (1971), RICH AND FAMOUS (1976), MARCO POLO SINGS A SOLO (1977), LANDSCAPE OF THE BODY (1977), LYDIE BREEZE (1982), GARDENIA (1982), SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION (1990), BOSOMS AND NEGLECT (1988), LAKE HOLLYWOOD (1999), CHAUCER IN ROME (2001), A FEW STOUT INDIVIDUALS (2002), and THREE KINDS OF EXILE (2013). He was the Resident Playwright at the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1976. The productions of MUZEEKA and SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION both won OBIE awards. THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, and SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION were all awarded a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. In 1993, he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Guare was born in New York City and grew up in Queens. He began writing plays when he was 11 years old. He attended Georgetown University for his undergraduate degree and the Yale School of Drama for his master's degree. Guare’s Broadway credits include: Sophisticated Ladies(1981), Four Baboons Adoring the Sun(1992), Kiss Me Kate(1999), Sweet Smell of Success(2002), and A Free Man of Color(2010). He is also a founding member of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. Guare wrote the screenplay for Louis Malle's film Atlantic City (1980) and was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award. He has taught playwriting courses at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, NYU, and Juilliard. He is a council member of the Dramatists Guild and a co-editor of the “Lincoln Center Theater Review” magazine. In 1989, he was elected a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Guare won the New York State Governor's Art Award in 1996. In 2003, he was the recipient of the Master American Dramatist Award from the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards.

Mentioned in Interview

Betty Ann Besch, Joe Cino, Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Mel Shapiro, Frank Converse, Joseph Papp, Bernard Gersten, Bertolt Brecht, La MaMa E.T.C., Caffe Cino, Theatre Genesis, New Dramatists, American Theatre Laboratory, NYSF/The Public, American Place Theatre, THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES, RICH AND FAMOUS, MARCO POLO SINGS A SOLO, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, LANDSCAPE OF THE BODY, BOSOMS AND NEGLECT, LYDIE BREEZE, THE RACE TO URGA, THE EXCEPTION AND THE RULE