Fun Facts Friday: Jack Gelber

April 12, 2024

Jack Gelber (12 April, 1932 – 9 May, 2003) was an award-winning American playwright and educator.

Fun Facts Friday: Jack Gelber
Works by Jack Gelber*

Fun Facts about Jack Gelber:

  1. Jack Gelber was born in Chicago, IL to Harold and Molly Gelber. His father was a sheet metal worker.
  2. Gerber graduated from the University of Illinois where he developed his interest in writing fiction. After he graduated in 1953, with a B.S. in Journalism he worked with his father before packing up and going to San Francisco. This is where he met his wife, Carol Westenberg.
  3. Jack Gelber decided to go to New York City, where he worked at the UN Headquarters. While working there, in 1957, he started writing his most famous play The Connection, which tells of drug-addicted jazz players.
  4. In July 1959 the play opened as part of the Living Theatre. It was mostly criticized for the graphic depiction of heroin addicts, however, it had many high-profile supporters such as Allen Ginsberg, and Norman Mailer, as well as Broadway critics and directors.
  5. The Connection because a great success for both the playwright and the theater. It won several awards and was shown in Europe, winning the Grand Prix at a Paris Festival.
  6. Eventually The Connection was translated into five languages and produced in ten countries.
  7. Jack Gelber started his teaching career in the 1960s, first at the City College of New York, and later as adjunct professor of drama at Columbia University. He was still writing and directing plays.
  8. In 1964, while teaching drama, Jack Gelber published his only novel On Ice.
  9. By the early 1970s Mr. Gelber was awarded a residency at the American Place Theatre by the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as becoming a full-time professor of English at Brooklyn College.
  10. While working at Brooklyn College, he created the MFA program in playwriting. He ran the program until his retirement.

Works by Jack Gelber*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

Sources:

Connection Playwright Jack Gelber Dead at 71 | Playbill

Jack Gelber | The Guardian

Jack Gelber | Wikipedia

Jack Gelber: American playwright | Britannica

Jack Gelber, 71, ‘Connection’ Playwright | The New York Times

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Fun Facts Friday: Jack Gelber
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Fun Facts Friday: Jack Gelber
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Jack Gelber (12 April, 1932 – 9 May, 2003) was an award-winning American playwright and educator. He is remembered for his play The Connection
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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