Monday, March 19, 2018

Touched by an 'Angel'

Attended a preview of the Broadway revival of Tony Kushner's famed "Angels in America," just in from London's National Theatre. It was my first time seeing it on the stage -- and the same things I didn't love about the HBO version still remain. (Supernatural beings, ghosts and highly metaphorical works of art are not my cup of tea, and it's reaaaaaally long.) But when it's good it's exceptional, which is how a non-theater-goer like me was able to sit through both 3 1/2 hours productions on Saturday -- "Millennium Approaches" at 1 p.m. and "Perestroika" at 7 p.m., with lunch and a champagne toast to my brother Bill in between at Bar Centrale.

Andrew Garfield, whose work I was not familiar with, is wonderful (if not a bit too fit) as Prior Walter, a gay man with AIDS. James McArdle is very believable as his neurotic boyfriend who is unable to cope with Prior's illness. (McArdle reminded me physically of blogger Matthew Rettenmund!) Nathan Lane is effective as evil closet case Roy Cohn, Lee Pace turns in an adequate if a bit wooden -- except when he's buck-naked on a beach -- performance at Joe Pitt, the closeted Mormon whose relationship with Cohn is his undoing. And Nathan Stewart-Jarrett is a scene-stealer as sassy nurse/drag queen Belize. But it's Denise Gough, as Harper Pitt, Joe's gas-lighted wife, who gives the standout performance that definitely deserves a Tony nomination. The rest of the cast is sensational -- as are the sets -- and it feels like the right time to revisit the peak of the AIDS epidemic as Trump seems to be as concerned about the disease as Reagan was nearly 40 years ago.

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