Broadway may be shut down but that doesn’t mean the curtains are closed for good. Those craving a taste of what the American stage has to offer in quarantine can find it on October 8th, with a free virtual screening of Angels In America streaming for free on Broadway.com’s YouTube channel.
The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels in America is a sixty-minute collection of seven scenes from Tony Kushner‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. It will star Glenn Close as closeted lawyer Roy Cohn, and include performances from Laura Linney, Patti Lupone, Jeremy O. Harris, Bryan Tyree Henry, and a host of other performers. Alan Cumming, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jake Gyllenhaal will also make appearances during the stream.
The production will raise funds for amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, and will be followed by a forty-five-minute conversation between Tony Kushner, director Ellie Heyman, and amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost, as well as many of the featured actors.
Viewers will be able to access the group dialogue, moderated by Broadway.com Editor-in Chief Paul Wontorek, with a donation of at least $100.
Close has gone to great lengths to ensure the authenticity of her portrayal within the digital confines of her iPhone screen, acting as her own makeup artist and cinematographer in order to fully convey the magnitude of Cohn’s suffering in his dying days.
Even in an age in which HIV is no longer a life-ending diagnosis, the play’s themes of mortality and sickness carry renewed meaning in the context of the nation’s reckoning with the shortcomings of our healthcare system as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the country.
As playwright Tony Kushner told the New York Times, “The world is being clobbered by a thing that reminded me of the ‘gay cancer’ I first read about when I was 25.”
“I’m touched and honored that amfAR and the remarkable Ellie Heyman decided to build this evening around Angels,” Kushner added in a statement. “For over 30 years, amfAR has been steadfastly determined to find a cure for AIDS. Like everyone else on the planet (except maybe some people), I’m praying that the novel coronavirus will prove easier to obliterate than HIV. But I know we’ll all do whatever’s required to defeat this scourge, and I know that amfAR, as it always has been, will be there in the heat of battle with us.”
In a statement, Kevin Robert Frost attested to the lasting significance of Kushner’s groundbreaking play, saying, “Angels is an intensely personal work that is so much more than just an AIDS play and, in this time of COVID and national unrest, its themes of racism and government failings make it as relevant and resonant today as it was when it was first performed 30 years ago.”
Watch the trailer for the livestream below:
For more information on the livestream, visit TheGreatWorkBegins.org.
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