Angels in America Part Two: Perestroika

“Angels in America” by Tony Kushner – a gay fantasia on national themes.

Newsweek hailed the stage production of “Angels in America,” observing, “The entire work is the broadest, deepest, most searching American play of our time.” In late 1998, London’s National Theatre selected “Angels in America” as one of the ten best plays of the century.

The two parts of “Angels in America” won a variety of prestigious theater awards during their Broadway runs in 1993 and 1994. “Millennium Approaches” won four Tony Awards, for Play (Tony Kushner), Director (George C. Wolfe), Actor (Ron Leibman) and Featured Actor (Stephen Spinella), as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, five Drama Desk Awards, and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. “Perestroika” won three 1994 Tony Awards, for Play (Tony Kushner), Actor (Stephen Spinella) and Featured Actor (Jeffrey Wright), as well as three Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Acting Ensemble produced Part One, “Millennium Approaches”, as a full production in April and now produceds Part Two, “Perestroika”, as a staged reading on June 11 and 12.  Jim Geisel directs.

Click here for tickets.

The 8 Main Characters are as follows:

Prior Walter – A  gay man with  AIDS. Throughout the play, he experiences various heavenly visions. When the play begins, he is dating Louis Ironson. His best friend is a nurse named Belize.

Louis Ironson – Prior’s boyfriend. Unable to deal with Prior’s disease, he ultimately abandons him. He meets Joe Pitt and later begins a relationship with him.

Harper Pitt – An agoraphobic Mormon housewife with incessant Valium-induced hallucinations. After a revelation from Prior (whom she meets when his heavenly vision and her hallucination cross paths), she discovers that her husband is gay and struggles with it, considering it a betrayal of her marriage.

Joe Pitt – Harper’s husband and a deeply closeted gay Mormon, clerk at the  U.S. Court of Appeals, and friend of Roy Cohn. Joe eventually abandons his wife for a relationship with Louis. Throughout the play, he struggles with his sexual identity.

Roy Cohn – A closeted gay lawyer, based on real life  Roy Cohn.  Just as in history, it is eventually revealed that he has contracted HIV and the disease has progressed to AIDS, which he insists is liver cancer to preserve his reputation.

Hannah Pitt – Joe’s mother. She moves to New York after her son drunkenly comes out to her on the phone. She arrives to find that Joe has abandoned his wife.

Belize – A former drag queen, he is Prior’s ex-boyfriend and best friend. He later becomes Roy Cohn’s nurse.

The Voice/Angel – A messenger from Heaven who visits Prior and tells him he’s a prophet.

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