Jean-Claude van Itallie

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Jean-Claude van Itallie
Born (1936-05-25) 25 May 1936 (age 78)
Brussels, Belgium
Citizenship American

Harvard University

B.A., History and Literature (1958)
Occupation Playwright, educator
Organization The Open Theatre
Notable work America Hurrah (1966)

Jean-Claude van Itallie is a Belgian-born American playwright and educator best known for his work with The Open Theatre in the 1960s.[1][2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Jean-Claude van Itallie was born in Brussels, Belgium on May 25, 1936.[1][2] He emigrated to the United States with his family to flee the Nazis in 1940 and grew up in Great Neck, New York on Long Island.[1][2] He graduated from Harvard University in 1958.[1][5]


He has taught at Princeton University, New York University, Harvard University, Yale University, Amherst College, Columbia University, Middlebury College, the University of Colorado, Naropa University, the Esalen Institute, the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, the NY Open Center, etc.[1]

Personal life[edit]

He lives on a farm in Massachusetts, where he runs the Shantigar Foundation.[2]

Selected plays[edit]

  • America Hurrah
  • The Serpent
  • War
  • Ancient Boys
  • Mystery Play
  • Struck Dumb (co-written with Joseph Chaikin)
  • Bag Lady
  • Almost Like Being
  • I'm Really Here
  • The Traveler
  • Light, Voltaire, the Mathematician, and the King of Prussia
  • Fear Itself, Secrets of the White House
  • Tibetan Book of the Dead or How Not to Do It Again
  • " A Fable"


  1. ^ a b c d e Official website
  2. ^ a b c d Biography
  3. ^ van Itallie, Jean-Claude (2013). "Jean-Claude van Itallie: Autobiography". Contemporary Authors Online. Literature Resource Center (Detroit: Gale). 
  4. ^ Gary Botting, The Theatre of Protest in America, Edmonton: Harden House, 1972.
  5. ^ Bennett, Beate Hein (1981). MacNicholas, John, ed. "Jean-Claude van Itallie in 'Twentieth-Century American Dramatists'". Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 7. Literature Resource Center.