There is a perfect marriage of solid writing and superb acting occurring at the Golden Theatre in the debut Broadway production of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. Originally staged at the Public Theater in 1985, Kramer’s semi-autobiographical play about the outbreak of AIDS in America in the early 1980s is a breathtaking view into paranoia, prejudice, and ignorance about what would become one of the world’s most important health issues.
It’s July 1981 in New York and Ned Weeks and his fellow gay companions are experiencing something strange. Their friends are getting sick, and no one knows why. The opening scene in a hospital waiting room depicts Ned comforting a nervous friend, experiencing the foreboding symptoms. Ned assures him that there’s nothing to worry about, yet the doctor he sees says otherwise. However, not even she has an explanation for the illness that dozens of gay men in New York are contracting. Thus begins Kramer’s incredible depiction of the rise of medical paranoia and how it incited a social revolution combating one of the most notorious diseases of the modern age.
Deeply disturbed by the mysterious plight of his friends, Ned forms an activism group to combat the unknown illness. In this production, the team consists of the Joe Mantello (Ned), Patrick Breen (Mickey), Lee Pace (Bruce), and Jim Parsons (Tommy), all of whom give stunning performances. During their rocky quest to work with the government to fight the epidemic, this rag-tag group of underdogs go to war with politicians, family members, and each other. The latter conflict proves to be the most heartbreaking, as their crusade against an unknown enemy highlights their fears and doubts, pitting them against each other. Read more