Arena Stage will launch the national tour of the 2011 Tony Award-winning production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, to coincide with AIDS 2012, the international AIDS conference. The show is replacing Like Water for Chocolate, which will be postponed.
"The creative process for a new musical and the economic climate can sometimes be nearly impossible to predict," said Artistic Director Molly Smith in a press release announcing the change. "Due to changes in the creative team, unavoidable scheduling conflicts arose for Like Water for Chocolate causing its postponement."
"As we're constantly looking for the best productions in the American theater for our audience," Smith continues, "I am pleased that the timing worked out for Arena to launch the national tour of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart following its sold-out Broadway run. The Normal Heart presents a remarkably vivid, humorous and ultimately devastating depiction of the lives of the brave men on the front line of the epidemic, and will serve as a tremendous finale to our season."
George C. Wolfe will reprise his role as director of The Normal Heart, though a cast has yet to be named. The play will run from June 8 to July 29. The design team includes David Rockwell (Sets), Martin Pakledinaz (Costumes), David Weiner (Lighting), David Van Tieghem (Sound and Original Music) and Batwin & Robin (Projections).
On Monday, Nov. 7, the Forum Theatre presented a staged reading of The Normal Heart as a benefit. In advance of that reading, Metro Weekly's Chris Geidner conducted an exclusive interview with Kramer at the playwright/activist's Manhattan apartment.
In that interview, Kramer addressed the difficulties getting the play staged in Washington in the '80s after its New York run.
"Zelda Fichandler didn't like the play, and she was running Arena [Stage] then. So, that was that there. And [Studio Theatre's] Joy Zinoman took it on, and proceeded to fire the director that I had given it to without consulting with me. She found some unknown and I wouldn't go along with that. And Roger Stevens, who was running Kennedy Center, didn't like the play and wouldn't allow it to be done there."
The Normal Heart finally had a local run in 1995, when the Washington Shakespeare Company (now WSC Avant Bard) opened its Clark Street Playhouse with the drama.