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Watch: Larry Kramer's 'The Normal Heart' Opens on Broadway


Had a chance the other night to see a preview of the revival of Larry Kramer's groundbreaking 1985 play The Normal Heart about the early days of the AIDS epidemic and was moved beyond anything I was prepared for. It's hard to single out a 'best' performance from this ensemble, though if I had to use one-sheet-style adjectives for the performances I'd call Joe Mantello "committed", Jim Parsons "hilarious", Lee Pace "stunning", and John Benjamin Hickey "gut-wrenching".

The show opens tonight and I thought I'd post an interview with some of the stars, as well, as the leaflet which Kramer has been personally handing out with a few assistants outside the theater after each performance. Click to enlarge.

For those of you who did not have the displeasure of coming out, or being out in the horrific time in our nation's history when the AIDS crisis began, you'll likely learn a lot.

In disclosure, the show advertises here on the site. I'd be giving it a rave in any case.

Check out the video, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. I'm kinda over Larry Kramer. He's gotten all "Get off My lawn"

    Posted by: Brandon h | Apr 27, 2011 3:08:37 PM

  2. I'm kinda over Brandon H. He's obviously all "I'm an insecure twit who uses dismissive arrogance to make myself feel important."

    Posted by: rascal | Apr 27, 2011 3:31:58 PM

  3. Larry Kramer speaks truth. We should ALL be in the streets. I have no excuse for my absence in the nonexistent, complacent crowd...

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Apr 27, 2011 3:45:29 PM

  4. 25 Years????

    Jeez it's like yesterday to me. Time plays all sorts of tricks on your mind if you live long enough.
    BOY do we need this play now. The epidemic is far from over. The cocktail is starting to fail increasing numbers of people (E NEED A NEW DRUG!!!) and everyone thinks of AIDS as being an epidemic that's "over" (Thanks Andrew "Patient Less Than Zero" Sullivan.)

    For me AIDS is a wound that will never heal. I'm alive (astonished at being HIV- but count your blessing while you still have the fingers and toes) and frankly my darlings all the best people are dead.

    Except for Larry of course.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 27, 2011 3:56:17 PM

  5. I saw the show last night and loved it. I lived during the worst of it in LA, and I worked for LA CARES before it was the center.
    Sure, youth today see Larry as a crank. Hey, that is what we all (alive and dead) worked for! Acceptance as normal. As long as they play safe and don't die of AIDS, being "over" our stories is a tiny price to pay. We all worked our asses off so they could live this way. Embrace it. I would have loved for all my friends to have been young and easy with it.

    Posted by: Scott | Apr 27, 2011 3:56:57 PM

  6. Every gay man owes it to himself to see THE NORMAL HEART. This production is excellent and Ellen Barkin is nothing short of a revelation!

    Posted by: BRANDON H | Apr 27, 2011 4:14:17 PM

  7. What a diverse cast!

    Posted by: Joetx | Apr 27, 2011 4:58:21 PM

  8. BRANDON - we're over you too.

    Where is your anger? Where is your resolve? When a disease can kill 35 million people, shouldn't you be outraged that our government does very little?

    My partner and I are going broke paying for antivirals. Wanna help us out?

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 27, 2011 5:16:47 PM

  9. Is he kidding with some of these?

    "All education and prevention has ended in abject failure?" "No president has done anything?"

    In what world is Larry Kramer living? If he already went that far with hyperbole, he could have saved half the page and said, "Please know that no one has done anything about HIV/AIDS ever and nothing has gotten better."

    Posted by: luminum | Apr 27, 2011 5:17:39 PM

  10. Reading the letter, I realized that for the first time, I had actually let most of the most difficult of those years go. They all flooded back for a moment. Not sure if I could see "The normal heart" or not....

    Posted by: Mikey | Apr 27, 2011 7:27:02 PM

  11. Agreed, Luminum...unfortunately, his hyperbole weakens the effectiveness of his all-too-critical message.

    JoeTX...I was thinking the same thing! ;-)

    Posted by: d'oh | Apr 27, 2011 7:32:06 PM

  12. i'm 49 and have seen the original TNH twice, and it ripped my heart out. i've recently been thinking "you really don't hear anything about AIDS anymore...isn't still an issue?"

    i certainly hear an awful lot more about circuit parties, gay cruises...where's the balance?

    Posted by: r | Apr 27, 2011 7:55:08 PM

  13. btw, i can't believe we're not in the streets today about all the crap we take, that gay people in other countries haven't had to for years (Canada and Spain have had marriage equality for almost a decade). it's unconscionable that we can still be legally fired simply for being gay in over half the states of the US.

    if every gay man were as cranky and did half the work that larry has, we'd have full equality by now

    Posted by: r | Apr 27, 2011 8:00:35 PM

  14. wow what a great cast! I'll look into tickets ...

    Posted by: deanybeany | Apr 27, 2011 8:12:52 PM

  15. lol @ JoeTX

    I wish I was in NY to see the show. We have a thriving theater district in Houston with national traveling broadway shows and local productions. It would be nice if theater were accessible in general. Sucks to wait years to see a new show.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Apr 27, 2011 11:21:18 PM

  16. I hear you, R. It often feels like we as a community are just not hungry enough for equality. Like we are waiting for the majority to cross off enough items on the to-do list until they notice us. It would be awesome if civil rights activism were seen in our community as the most awesome, in-vogue thing to do with one's free time, and people just did it constantly. Kind of like how it was during the height of ACT UP. Or during the 60s Civil Rights Movement. I read some article on this several years ago and it argued that we need new leaders to come along and spearhead a movement like that. I think I agree. Where are those leaders?

    Posted by: redball | Apr 28, 2011 2:59:41 AM

  17. what i've recently learned from someone with HIV (from tainted hemophilia factor back in the 80s) is that the "drug cocktails" he's been on for years keeping him alive all these years are now causing him to have massive bone-density loss. At a cellular level, these drugs have aged him (around age 48) to be as if he's in his 70s, with osteoporosis and leg fractures that occur simply for pressing down on his car brakes. He & the generation of men who pioneered going on those drug cocktails are now facing a whole batch of health issues none could have envisioned back when they started their regimens. It seems the media is selecting not to cover any of this type of stuff, imho.

    Posted by: Daniel | Apr 28, 2011 7:40:53 PM

  18. Daniel, those functional limitations sound awful. I wonder how he copes...I guess he can no longer drive? About the media coverage issue, I agree there should be a lot more. A long time ago, I bookmarked this article which I think speaks to the issues you raised:

    (I have yet to read it myself...I'm notorious for bookmarking and coming back to stuff months or even yrs later!)

    Posted by: redball | Apr 29, 2011 11:26:39 PM

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