'The Normal Heart' Online Reading to Benefit One Archives Foundation

by Jim Provenzano

Bay Area Reporter

Monday May 3, 2021

The cast of the online reading of 'The Normal Heart'
The cast of the online reading of 'The Normal Heart'   

The late playwright and AIDS activist Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart" presented a scathing critique of complacency and concern in the early years of the AIDS pandemic.

Originally staged at The Public Theatre in 1985, the 2011 Broadway revival won three Tony awards. American Conservatory Theatre won raves for its 2012 production, and Ryan Murphy's acclaimed HBO film adaptation aired in 2014.

The "fiercely polemical drama" (The New York Times) remains a classic of gay-themed theatre, with Kramer telling the story of the frightening days when gay men began getting sick and dying.

His protagonist, Ned Weeks, grows frustrated with a "passive" version of the Gay Men's Health Crisis, and combats his family, friends and even New York City Mayor Ed Koch.

On May 8, at 5 pm PST, an online staged reading, directed by Emmy winner Paris Barclay, will include a stellar cast of mostly people of color and LGBT actors performing the play.

The cast includes Sterling K. Brown ("This Is Us," "Black Panther"); Laverne Cox ("Orange Is The New Black," "Promising Young Woman"); Jeremy Pope ("Hollywood," "Choir Boy"); Vincent Rodriguez III ("Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," "Insatiable"): Guillermo Díaz ("Scandal," "Weeds"); Jake Borelli ("Grey's Anatomy," "The Thing About Harry"); Ryan O'Connell ("Special," "Will & Grace"); Daniel Newman ("The Walking Dead," "Homeland"); Jay Hayden ("Station 19," "The House Bunny"); and Danielle Savre ("Station 19," "Heroes"). The event will also include a special introduction by Martin Sheen.

Proceeds benefit The One Archives, the Los Angeles-based LGBT archive. The one-night streaming event will include a post-show Q&A with Barclay and cast members. Tickets range from $10 to $100.

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