September 2010: Issue 34

From the Editor

Paul Kahn – A Tribute

Paul Kahn, playwright, poet, essayist, instructor and disability rights advocate —and Opening Stages editor—died of respiratory failure on New Year's Day. He had myotubular myopathy, a slowly progressive neuromuscular disorder. This issue of Opening Stages is dedicated to Paul. As the many tributes and excerpts from his own work in this issue show, his creativity could not be contained by physical limitations.

Paul's plays have been produced at the Mixed Phoenix Theatre Group, Boston Theatre Marathon, the 15 Minute Theatre Festival in Belfast, Maine, the Women On Top Theater Festival, the Northeastern University Play/Project Annual Reading Festival, the Underground Railway Theater, the Boston Center for the Arts, the Talking Information Center and Playwrights Platform. He also wrote and co-edited the award-winning video documentary “Key Changes: A Portrait of Lisa Thorson.” 

In addition to Opening Stages, Paul edited Disability Issues published by the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He wrote or contributed to nine books and authored or co-authored over 20 articles in national publications.

Posthumously, in March 2010, Mr. Kahn received the Boston Center for Independent Living Marie Feltin Award.  In 2007, Mr. Kahn received the Outstanding Consumer Award from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission.  Other accolades include a fellowship from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation for a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in 2003, a Professional Development Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2001 and an Artist Grant from the Newton Cultural Council in 1999. Among his other honors are the 1998 Massachusetts Personal Achievement Award from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the 1994 Making A Difference Award of Understanding Handicaps of Newton and the 1989 Boston University Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts and Humanities.

In the first issue of Opening Stages Paul observed:

We might almost say "he walked the talk." He inspired us with his own artistic work. As editor he introduced Opening Stages readers to the inspiring work of countless other playwrights, composers, dancers, directors, actors—and made available information professional and aspiring artists need about educational options, training programs, auditions, events and resources. Thanks, Paul!

--Janet Salmons,