Jean-Claude van Itallie 


Jean-Claude van Itallie was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1936, raised in Great Neck, Long Island and graduated from Harvard University in 1958. His trilogy of one-act plays, America Hurrah, was hailed as the watershed Off-Broadway play of the sixties. Van Itallie was one of Ellen Stewart’s original “La Mama playwrights.” He was principal playwright of Joe Chaikin’s Open Theater and for that group wrote what has been called “the classic ensemble play, The Serpent. In the seventies, van Itallie wrote his frequently produced new English versions of the four major plays of Chekhov. His play The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, based on the traditional teachings, premiered at La Mama ETC in New York City in 1983. His 1985 translation of Jean Genet’s The Balcony was commissioned and produced by the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Traveller, van Itallie’s play about recovery with aphasia, based on his own experience helping Joseph Chaikin when Chaikin had a stroke, premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 1987. Ancient Boys, van Itallie’s play about a gay artist living with AIDS, premiered at La Mama Annex, in February 1991. Jean-Claude van Itallie’s adaptation of Bulgakhov’s Master and Margarita premiered at the Theatre for the New City, New York City, in May, 1993. In 2002 van Itallie was given an award for Outstanding Achievement in the American Theatre by the New England Theatre Conference. In October 2004 his play Light had its world premiere in Pasadena, California, at the Theatre at Boston Court. His latest play is Fear Itself, Secrets of The White House. Jean-Claude van Itallie has taught playwriting and performance at Princeton, NYU, Harvard, Yale School of Drama, Amherst, Columbia, University of Colorado, Boulder, Naropa Institute and other colleges. Van Itallie is a founding member of the grassroots group Citizens Awareness Network, which combats production and proliferation of nuclear