, Salem, MA

February 1, 2013

Kushner, Booker headline Salem State series


---- — SALEM — A rising star within the Democratic Party and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author are the headliners of this year’s speaker series at Salem State University.

Cory Booker, the Yale-educated mayor of Newark, N.J., will kick off the series on Sunday, April 7.

It concludes Nov. 13 with an onstage interview with Tony Kushner, who wrote the Broadway blockbuster “Angels in America” and the screenplay for the movie “Lincoln.”

Booker, 43, a Rhodes scholar, was a featured speaker at this year’s Democratic National Convention. He made national news as mayor when he led a hunger strike against drug dealing, invited hurricane victims over to his home and rescued a woman from a house fire.

Booker was elected mayor in 2006, re-elected in 2010 and is reportedly considering a U.S. Senate run.

In a break from tradition, Booker will speak at Lynn Auditorium in downtown Lynn. The series has previously been held at the O’Keefe Sports Center in Salem.

“The move to Lynn’s spacious and beautifully renovated auditorium represents an opportunity to move our public lecture program out into the community and make it more accessible to audience members from Boston and up into Cape Ann,” Cynthia McGurren, executive director of the Salem State University Foundation, said in a press release.

The O’Keefe Center is also currently undergoing construction.

The series returns to the O’Keefe Center for Kushner, who will be interviewed by WBUR’s Robin Young.

In addition to a Pulitzer, “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” won two Tony Awards, two Drama Desk Awards and other honors.

Kushner also wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s film “Munich.”

Tickets for the series go on sale today at or 978-542-7555. Individual tickets are available Feb. 11.

For more information, go to

Tom Dalton can be reached at