Born in a small town in Belorussia, Ansky studied in traditional Jewish schools and was also self-educated. His writing reflects his democratic ideas and love for the poor and underprivileged, which also prompted his interest in folk psychology and in folklore, its artistic reflection. Ansky gave a highly poetic and symbolic interpretation to a popular folk belief in his play The Dybbuk, which is the story of a dead soul that enters the body of a living person as a malevolent spirit. The play is a classic of Yiddish theater.
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.