Playwright Tony Kushner was born in New York City and raised in Louisiana. In addition to his plays, Kushner teaches at New York University and has co-written an opera with Bobby McFerrin. Kushner is best known for Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, a two-part seven-hour play that has won many awards (two Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, two Drama Desk Awards, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award). It was also selected one of the ten best plays of the 20th century by London's Royal National Theatre.
Maurice Sendak was born on June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. While in high school, he worked part time as an illustrator for All-American Comics adapting the Mutt and Jeff newspaper comic strip to a comic book format. His first professional illustrations were for a physics textbook, Atomics for the Millions, published in 1947. He later worked as a window-display director for F.A.O. Schwartz while attending night school at the Art Students League. In 1950, he illustrated his first children's book The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Aymï¿½. He wrote his first children's book Kenny's Window in 1956 and went on to become a prolific author-illustrator. His works include Chicken Soup with Rice; In the Night Kitchen; Outside Over There; Higglety Pigglety Pop; The Sign on Rosie's Door; We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy; Brundibar; Bumble Ardy; and My Brother's Book. He received numerous awards including the Caldecott medal for Where The Wild Things Are in 1964, the Hans Christian Andersen International Medal in 1970, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the National Medal of Arts in 1996. Characters from two of his books were the basis of an animated television special, Really Rosie, which first aired in 1975. He was also the set designer and lyricist for a subsequent off-Broadway musical of the same title. He was the lyricist, as well as the set and costume designer, for the original production of an opera based on Where The Wild Things Are in 1980. In addition, he has designed sets and costumes for performances of operas by Mozart, Prokofiev, and other classical composers. He died due to complications from a recent stroke on May 8, 2012 at the age of 83.