Bertolt Brecht was born on February 10, 1898 in Augsburg, Bavaria, and died on August 14, 1956. He was a German playwright, theatre director and Marxist. The modest house where he was born is today preserved as a Brecht Museum. Brecht formed a writing collective which became prolific and very influential. He wrote many lyrics for musicals and collaborated with Kurt Weill to create Die Dregroschenoper -- the biggest hit in 1920s Berlin. Brecht experimented with his own theater and company -- the Berliner Ensemble -- which put on his plays under his direction and which continued after his death with the assistance of his wife. Brecht aspired to create political theater, and it is difficult to evaluate his work in purely aesthetic terms. Brecht died in 1956.
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.