Interview with playwright Israel Horovitz (Stage Directions)


Legendary playwright Israel Horovitz wrote himself into the life of his dreams Legendary playwright Israel Horovitz wrote himself into the life of his dreams

Born in 1939 in Wakefield, Mass., Israel Horovitz has written more than 70 produced plays, including Line, The Primary English Class, Rats, It’s Called the Sugar Plum and The Indian Wants the Bronx, which introduced Al Pacino. Among his numerous awards are two Obies, a Drama Desk Award and an Award in Literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is also the most-produced American playwright in French theatre history—the French government commended him as Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on his 70th birthday. Horovitz is also founding artistic director of the Gloucester Stage Company and the founder of the New York Playwrights Lab.

But Horovitz didn’t start out wanting to write plays. His first major work was a novel titled Steinberg, Sex and the Saint, which he wrote at the tender age of thirteen. “It was three things I knew nothing about,” he quips. Being an ambitious kid, young Horovitz submitted his manuscript to Simon & Shuster. It was rejected, while simultaneously being praised for having a “wonderful child-like quality.” That phrasing was quite the ego bruiser—so much so that when Horovitz mounted his first play at age 17 he called it The Comeback.

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