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Bard Fisher Center Presents Spring Talks Series

Tony Kushner, Susan Orlean, Lili Taylor, Frances McDormand, Malcolm Gladwell, Sarah Thyre, Suzanne Bocanegra, and H. Jon Benjamin

Eleanor Davis
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College presents a Spring Talks Series featuring an exceptional array of artists: Tony Kushner in conversation on Leonard Bernstein; Frances McDormand, Lili Taylor, and Anne Gridley ’02 performing in Suzanne Bocanegra’s artist lectures; comedian and author H. Jon Benjamin’s Failure Is An Option; and the Fisher Center’s first live podcast, Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre’s Crybabies, with special guest Malcom Gladwell. Tickets, subscriptions, gift certificates, and group discounts are available along with additional information at or by calling the box office at
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Tony Kushner on Leonard Bernstein
Friday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Sosnoff Theater
Tickets start at $25

Some playwrights want to change the world. Some want to revolutionize theater. Tony Kushner is that rarity of rarities: a writer who has the promise to do both.” —New York Times

Playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner is best known for his Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning plays Angels In AmericaCaroline, or Change and the screenplay for the 2012 film Lincoln. In this conversation with theater critic and scholar Alisa Solomon, Kushner will reflect on his relationship to the music of Leonard Bernstein, including his current work with Stephen Sondheim developing a screenplay of Bernstein’s West Side Story. Like Bernstein, Kushner is a powerful advocate for social change in his life and work, asking audiences to identify with the marginalized through humanizing acts of imagination. 

Presented as part of the worldwide Bernstein centenary celebration.  This event will include an audience Q&A and a book signing.

Susan Orlean and Sarah Thyre's 

A live podcast with Malcolm Gladwell
Saturday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Sosnoff Theater
Tickets start at $25

“It’s a lot like hitting the jackpot corner at a really good cocktail party.” – NPR

Writer Susan Orlean (The Orchid ThiefThe New Yorker) and actor Sarah Thyre (Strangers with CandyLate Night with Conan O’Brien) want to make you cry. For their hilarious and touching podcast Crybabies, they interview comedians, musicians, actors, and writers about the movies, TV, music, plays, and art that make them cry. Best-selling author and social theorist Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping PointBlink) joins this special live edition to talk about what tickles his tear ducts.

Comedian and Author H. Jon Benjamin
Failure Is An Option
Wednesday, May 2 at 8 p.m.
Olin Hall
Tickets are $32 and include one copy of the book

Oblong Books & Music in association with the Fisher Center presents comedian H. Jon Benjamin (the voice behind FOX TV’s Bob’s Burgers and FX Network’s Archer) who will help us all feel a little better about our own shortcomings by sharing his own in a hilarious memoir-ish chronicle of failure, Failure Is An Option: An Attempted Memoir.

This event will include an audience Q&A and a book signing. (5/1/18  Dutton).

Suzanne Bocanegra
My Life as an Artist Lecture in Two Acts
with Frances McDormand, Lili Taylor, and Anne Gridley ’02
Saturday, May 5 at 7 p.m.
Tickets start at $25

 “Highly enjoyable… an illuminating theatrical portrait of the mind of an artist at work.”
 – New York Times
When MoMA asked the artist Suzanne Bocanegra to give a talk about her work, she created a lecture-performance that was part artist talk, part memoir, part gleefully rambling cultural essay. After that she made two more, presenting them at such venues as the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. All three are now performed together for the first time, with Anne Gridley ’02 (Nature Theater of Oklahoma), Frances McDormand (Fargo, Almost Famous, Moonrise Kingdom), and Lili Taylor (American Crime, Six Feet Under, Mystic Pizza). Through text, video, music, and costume they tour Bocanegra’s Texas upbringing and life as an artist in stories that span scandal between a priest and a witch, teenage years spent in a plaster body cast, and her grandparents’ farm across from the ‘Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.’ 

To download high-resolution images go here:

Tickets, subscriptions, gift certificates, and group discounts are available with additional information at or by calling the box office at 845-758-7900.

The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Named for the late Richard B. Fisher, former chair of Bard’s Board of Trustees, the Fisher Center has become an influential force in performing arts programming, earning critical acclaim for innovative productions of opera, orchestral, chamber, dance, and theater programs. The Center was designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry and distinguished acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, and has received international praise for its breathtaking architecture and superb sound.
Each summer the Fisher Center presents the Bard SummerScape festival, seven weeks of performing arts programs reflecting the life and times of the featured composer of the esteemed Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its 29th year. Fall and spring seasons include original productions, special one-night-only concerts, and touring artists from around the globe.
The Fisher Center is home to the Bard College Theater & Performance and Dance Programs, providing students access to exceptional theater facilities and opportunities to work with professional directors and dramaturges on publicly attended productions throughout the year. The Bard College Conservatory of Music and Bard College Music Program stage regular orchestral and chamber concerts.

Special Thanks
The Fisher Center’s Winter/Spring 2018 season is made possible in part through the generous support of the Board of The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, and the Friends of the Fisher Center, as well as a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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This event was last updated on 04-05-2018