Leon Katz

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Leon Katz (July 10, 1919 – January 23, 2017)[1][2] was professor emeritus of drama at Yale University. He was a playwright, dramaturg, and scholar.


As a scholar, Katz was primarily known for his interviews with Alice B. Toklas, the companion of Gertrude Stein, over four months in 1952-53. The interviews and their interpretations have served as the basis for much of the Stein scholarship over the years. In October 2007, Katz gave a public lecture and performance based on his time spent with Toklas in her Paris apartment. Titled "An Evening With Leon Katz," the performance was staged using reproductions of art and some original furniture from Stein and Toklas's apartment.[3]


Besides his association with Toklas, Katz was known for his body of plays, which have been adapted and performed both in the United States and internationally. His plays include The Three Cuckolds, Sonya, Dracula: Sabbat, Son of Arlecchino, GBS in Love, Beds, Pinocchio, Finnegan's Wake, The Marquis de Sade’s Justine, Amerika, The Odyssey, Swellfoot’s Tears, The Dybbuk, Remembrance of Things Past, and The Making of Americans (an opera based on Stein’s novel, with music by composer Al Carmines).[3]

Professorship and dramaturgy[edit]

Katz also had a long career as a dramaturg and professor, contributing to the development of numerous prominent theatre, film, and television professionals throughout the United States. In addition to Yale (where he was co-chairman of the School of Drama's Department of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism), he has taught at UCLA, Cornell, Stanford, Columbia University, Vassar College, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Giessen in Germany, and the Rhodopi International Theatre Laboratory in Bulgaria (of which he was founding member, and which was renamed in his honor in 2008), amongst many others. He was most recently a Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1984, he wrote a short essay, The Compleat Dramaturg, a standard amongst learning tools for the profession of Dramaturgy. In 2012, his book, Cleaning Augean Stables: Examining Drama's Strategies, was published.

Katz was a contributing dramaturg to Tony Kushner's Pulitzer-Prize winning play, Angels in America.[4]


  1. ^ Who's who in Entertainment. Marquis Who's Who. 1989-01-01. 
  2. ^ "Obituary: Leon Katz / Famed playwright and professor". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "An Evening with Leon Katz," ETC Global News, September 24, 2007.
  4. ^ Kushner, Tony. Angels in America: a Gay Fantasia on National Themes. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1993. Print. p.8

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