Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika by Tony Kushner and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Published : Friday, June 2, 2017 | 5:27 PM
• Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika by Tony Kushner, directed by Apollo Dukakis, on Wednesday, June 14 at 7:00 pm.
• A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, directed by Deborah Strang, on Monday, July 10 at 7:00 pm.
ANW’s readings routinely fill up early – so reservations are suggested. Please RSVP via phone to (626) 356-3100 x1 or online at www.anoisewithin.org/wordswithin to reserve your seat for this performance.
The cast of Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika includes Resident Artists Susan Angelo*, Alan Blumenfeld*, Allison Elliott*, and Deborah Strang* along with Guest Artists Matthew Jaeger, Ian Littleworth, Henri Lubatti, Richy Storrs, and Sean Walton.* denotes member of Actor’s Equity
The cast of A Streetcar Named Desire includes Susan Angelo* as Blanche and Abby Craden* as Stella. * denotes member of Actor’s Equity
About Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika
The series featured Angels in America, Part One: Millenium Approaches last July as part of ANW’s American Dream Resident Artist Reading festival. The visionary Tony Award®-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winning epic that looks at the 1990s AIDS crisis through a series of overlapping narratives: an unflinching and lushly poetic piece made infinitely accessible by the biting dark humor that balances it. “Perestroika” means rebuilding or reorganization in Russian. (For mature audiences only – contains adult language and themes)
As the play continues, it is December 1985, and the angel reveals to Prior that Heaven is a beautiful city that resembles San Francisco, but that God, bored with his angels, made mankind with the power to change and create. The progress of mankind on Earth caused Heaven to physically deteriorate. The angel brings Prior a message for mankind—”stop moving!”—in the belief that if man ceases to progress, Heaven will be restored.
Prior goes to a Mormon visitor’s center to research angels, where he meets Harper, who has slowly returned to reality. The two recognize each other from their shared dream. Prior collapses from pneumonia and Hannah rushes him back to the hospital. Prior tells her about his vision and is surprised when Hannah believes him based on her belief in angelic revelations within the Mormon church.
At the hospital, the angel reappears enraged that Prior rejected her message. Prior wrestles the angel, who relents and opens a ladder into Heaven. Prior climbs into Heaven and tells the other angels that he refuses to deliver their message, as without progress, humanity will perish.
Belize informs Louis about Joe’s connection with Cohn, whom Louis despises for his hypocritical anti-gay rhetoric. Louis goes to confront Joe directly, and Joe physically assaults him, after which Louis leaves him for good. Now abandoned by his wife and his lover, and with no one else to turn to, Joe goes to Cohn for guidance.
Cohn, meanwhile, has just learned that his political enemies have moved to have him disbarred. Enraged, he vows to remain a lawyer until the day he dies. Rather than comforting Joe, Cohn viciously berates him for leaving his wife for another man, forcing Joe to realize that Louis’s opinion of Cohn was true. He rebukes Cohn and leaves the man to die alone.
Ethel Rosenberg watches Cohn’s last supporter abandon him before delivering the final blow: Cohn has been disbarred after all. Cohn dies shortly thereafter. Belize forces Louis to visit Cohn’s room, where Louis recites the Kaddish for Cohn. Unseen by the living, Ethel joins Louis in the prayer, symbolically forgiving Cohn before she departs for the hereafter. Belize and Louis then steal Cohn’s hoarded AZT for Prior.
The play concludes five years later. Prior and Louis are still separated, but Louis, along with Belize, remains close in order to support and care for Prior; Harper forgave Joe, but refused to stay with him, instead moving to San Francisco; and Hannah has found a new perspective on her rigid beliefs, allowing her to accept her son as he is. Prior, Louis, Belize, and Hannah gather before the angel statue in Bethesda Fountain. Prior talks of the legend of the Pool of Bethesda, where the sick were healed. Prior delivers the play’s final lines directly to the audience, affirming his intentions to live on and telling them that “the Great Work” shall continue.
Anthony Robert “Tony” Kushner (born July 16, 1956) is an American playwright and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. He co-authored with Eric Roth the screenplay for the 2005 film “Munich,” and he wrote the screenplay for the 2012 film “Lincoln.” Both movies were critically acclaimed, and he received Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay. For his work, he received a National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2013.
About A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. The play opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947, and closed on December 17, 1949, in the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Elia Kazan directed the Broadway production, which starred Jessica Tandy, Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, and Kim Hunter. The London production opened in 1949 with Bonar Colleano, Vivien Leigh, and Renee Asherson and was directed by Laurence Olivier. The drama A Streetcar Named Desire is often regarded as among the finest plays of the 20th century, and is considered by many to be one of Williams’ greatest.
Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) was an American playwright. Along with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller, he is considered among the three foremost playwrights in 20th-century American drama. After years of obscurity, he became suddenly famous with The Glass Menagerie (1944), closely reflecting his own unhappy family background. This heralded a string of successes, including A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), and Sweet Bird of Youth (1959). His later work attempted a new style that did not appeal to audiences, and alcohol and drug dependence further inhibited his creative output. His drama A Streetcar Named Desire is often numbered on short lists of the finest American plays of the 20th century alongside Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Much of Williams’ most acclaimed work was adapted for the cinema. He also wrote short stories, poetry, essays and a volume of memoirs. In 1979, four years before his death, Williams was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
About A Noise Within
A Noise Within, celebrating its 25th Anniversary during the 2016-2017 season, was recently named “one of the nation’s premier classical repertory companies” by The Huffington Post, and is a leading regional producer based in Pasadena, CA. ANW’s award-winning resident company practices a rotating repertory model at their state-of-the-art, 283-seat performing space. This venue, established in 2011, has allowed ANW to expand its audience, surpassing its previous box office, subscription, and attendance records each year. In addition to producing world-class performances of classical theatre, the organization runs robust education programs committed to inspiring diverse audiences of all ages. Helmed by Producing Artistic Directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who hold MFAs from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, A Noise Within truly delivers Classic Theatre, Modern Magic. www.anoisewithin.org