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The Normal Heart
At the John Golden Theatre located at 252 West 45th Street, It opened on Apri 27, 2011 and runs until July 10, 2011.
This is semi autobiographical play by Larry Kramer. " the writter and activist cofounded The Gay Mens Health Crisis in 1981 to combat the Aids epidemic-only to split from the group amid controversy over agressive tactics" (Adam Markovitz for Entertainment Weekly).
The first production was at the Public Theatre and opened on April 21, 1985 and ran for 294 performances. There were revivals in London and again off Broadway in 2004. This is the plays Broadway debut.
The play is up for five Tony Awards. Best Revival, Best Director Joel Gray/George Wolfe and three of it's actors Joe Montello, Ellen Barkin and John Benjamin Harvey.
The story takes place between July 1981 and 1984 in New York City.
A very bare stage with white walls with words, sentences embossed on it. Cast member bring out chairs and tables in and out depending on the scence. The stage sets the mood of bleakness.
Ned Weeks (Joe Montello) is frustrated that so many of his friends are dying of Aids. No one cares the city, state or federal government will not acknowledge it. The epidemic is spreading all over the United States, Europe and further.
If you're gay and in a prominent position your afraid to speak up for fear of losing your job. Neds friends Bruce Niles (Lee Page), his new boy friend Felix Turner (John Benjamin Hickey) and Mickey Marcus (Patrick Breen) have high level jobs as straight men.
This is a heart breaking story of the struggle and foundation of the Gay Men's Health Crisis. Ned was very outspoken and not very diplomatic about his approach to things or how to get them done. The other members in charge decided to kick him out because of this.
Dr Emma Brookner (Ellen Barkin) is the only doctor in the city to help combat and treat Aids patients.
The cast is outstanding Patrick Breen, Jim Parsons and Lee Pace are powerful in there. roles. Ellen Barkin with her limited movement (she's in a wheel chair) comes across as a doctor who cares and understands, But is frustrated by all the obstacles she meets. Joe Montello performance makes you want to get involved in the cause and rightly so as Aids is not limited to gays. John Benjamin Hickey who is charming as the New York Times social column writer. His love for Ned falls apart when he gets Aids. Your heart wants to reach out to him.
Joel Grey who is one of the directors played the role Ned at the Public Theatre.
David Rockwell did the scenic design. Catch Me If You Can, Hairspray and Free Men Of Color are among the many sets he has done.
In front of the theatre you are handed a letter from Larry Kramer the author of this play."Please Know" according to his letter "Please know that there is no cure" There are 13 Please Know statements. It's quite interesting and scarey. "Please know that everything in The Normal Heart happened".
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.