Drama, Democracy & Hamilton with Oskar Eustis (011)

Oskar office Public.JPG

Oskar Eustis founded his first theatre company at the age of 16. From Tony Kushner's Angels in America to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, Eustis has been intimately involved in the creation and development of many of the greatest works of American theatre of the past 30 years. Oskar and I sat down in his office at the Public Theater in February to talk about important teachers, Shakespeare, drama, democracy, Hamilton, the state of civil discourse ... and a few new ideas on the horizon.

Thanks to Paula Roy and Robyn Lee Horn for creative feedback throughout production, and to Yinka Rickford-Anguin at the Public, who helped everything come off without a hitch! Soundtrack notes: Thanks to the phenomenal pianist Gil Scott Chapman for his take on certain shapes from the Hamilton soundtrack. Fiddles, frog, and cajon by Peter Horn. The song “Bitten der Kinder” (trans. "Ask the Children,” music by Paul Dessau) underneath the comments about Mother Courage comes from Mr. Wau-Wa, a Brecht band of Gina Leishman, Rinde Eckert, Doug Wieselman, Marcus Rojas, and Kenny Wollesen. Thanks as always to Shayfer James for intro and outro music. Hear and buy his music here! Graphic design on avatar/Hamilton mashup by Roy Chambers. 

Oskar and some other early  Hamilton  boosters reunite in March 2016 at the White House, in the room where this happened: just 7 years earlier, Lin-Manuel floated an idea about doing something with the Founding Father who was a bastard immigrant orphan ...

Oskar and some other early Hamilton boosters reunite in March 2016 at the White House, in the room where this happened: just 7 years earlier, Lin-Manuel floated an idea about doing something with the Founding Father who was a bastard immigrant orphan ...

Bonus Features

Reading list from Modern American Drama, Oskar's course at the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English (2003), reconstructed: 

  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry 
  • The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window by Lorraine Hansberry
  • Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy
  • The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe
  • Independence of Eddie Rose by William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.
  • The Rez Sisters by Tomson Highway
  • M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang
  • Short Eyes by Miguel Piñero
  • Fefu and Her Friends by Maria Irene Fornés
  • Broken Eggs by Eduardo Machado
  • Marisol by José Rivera
  • The America Play by Suzan-Lori Parks
  • Angels in America by Tony Kushner
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • The Lisbon Traviata by Terrence McNally

Oskar's interview with New Yorker editor David Remnick in June 2016. Other insights about the process of making Hamilton, as well as more on Oskar's Marxist (and quite humane) worldview.

Oskar's interview with NYC Arts host Paula Zahn in December 2012. They discuss the Public’s mission of theatre as a democratic institution that needs to include everybody, providing collective experience in our increasingly digitized age. 

Peter Horn