‘The Normal Heart’ Beats On; Streaming, Final Encore Reading December 4th of Larry Kramer’s Play; First BIPOC-Led Cast — Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox and Many More.
Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox and Jeremy Pope lead the Benefit Reading of Larry Kramer’s ‘The Normal Heart’, to raise awareness of World AIDS Day and the changed geography and demography of that pandemic. Cast Q&A To Follow Hosted by Emmy Winning Director Paris Barclay .
Tickets to the Historic Virtual Production, An Encore of Last Spring’s Reading which was the first time ‘The Normal Heart’ featured a predominantly BIPOC and LGBTQ cast, benefits One Archives and are available now for the December 4th streamed show.
In its review, the LA Times praised Sterling K. Brown, in the role of Ned Weeks
“Brown, who’s Black and straight, didn’t try to summon the white and gay Kramer back to life…in the role of Kramer’s surrogate, Ned Weeks, illuminating the contradictions and complexities of a hero who was nothing if not exasperatingly human….
…Without dabbling in lesson-drawing anachronism, Brown’s Ned harmonized the cries of AIDS activists and Black Lives Matter protestors. An acute sense of endangered humanity and a desperate hunger for justice pointed the way.”–CHARLES MCNULTY, Theater Critic Los Angeles Times
Star Studded Cast Top to Bottom
In addition to Cox and Brown, the producers fills the other roles with 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 (Walking Dead, Homeland); Jay Hayden (Station 19, The House Bunny); and Danielle Savre (Station 19, Heroes). The virtual reading
will include a special introduction by Martin Sheen.
Reminder AIDS is Not Over: World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day which takes place on December 1 every year, was founded in 1988 to fight against HIV, support people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illness. The success of the first showing of THE NORMAL HEART, which reached
This performance of THE NORMAL HEART is an reminder that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not over, with nearly 38 million people living with HIV globally in 2020.
As of 2019, 42% of new HIV cases have occurred within the Black community, which only makes up 13% of the US population. According to the CDC, in 2019, Southern states account for an estimated 51% of new HIV cases annually, even though only 38% of the US population lives in the Southern region.
The encore presentation of THE NORMAL HEART will take place on Saturday, December 4, at 12:00pm PT and again at 5:00pm PT.
Tickets are now on sale Prices range from $20 – $100. Proceeds support ONE Archives Foundation’s LGBTQ initiatives.
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Head Over Heels Transforms Pasadena Playhouse with Alaska 5000 (Drag Race), Lea Delaria (OITNB, etc), The Go-Gos Tunes and A Priority Given to Experience and Fun
Pasadena Playhouse is Head Over Heals
A re-imagined and more “experiential” production of the musical comedy set to the music of The Go-Gos kicks off the 21-22 season at the Pasadena Playhouse. The show follows follows “a royal family in search of a purpose, lovers in search of each other, and a whole kingdom in search of a beat.”
We completely reconfigured the theatre to accommodate a massive “dance floor” space, with actors performing from platforms in the middle of the floor and dancing around on scaffolding above the audience.
It’s a journey from We Got the Beat with many stops including Our Lips Are Sealed, Vacation, Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth, and Mad About You.
The producers explain: Originally produced for a traditional proscenium stage on Broadway in 2018, the Playhouse’s 90-minute, intermission-free production puts the audience in the middle of a non-stop, dance-filled joyride through magic, merriment, and mischief.
And the Playhouse has assembled a spectacular cast ensuring a real spectacle. A bunch of queer all-stars Alaska 5000 (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Lea DeLaria (Orange is the New Black), Yurel Echezarreta (Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story), Tiffany Mann (Be More Chill), George Salazar (Little Shop of Horrors), Emily Skeggs (Fun Home), Shanice Williams (“Dorothy” in NBC’s The Wiz Live!) plus Oakland musician and drag performer Freddie.
The production is directed, choreographed, and conceived by Jenny Koons and Sam Pinkleton and features music direction by Kris Kukul, scenic design by David Meyer; costume design by Hahnji Jang; lighting design by Stacey Derosier; sound design by Danny Erdberg and Ursula Kwong Brown; casting by Ryan Tymensky of The Telsey Office, and stage management by Sara Sahin. Head Over Heels, with songs by The Go-Go’s, is based on The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney, conceived by and features an original book by Jeff Whitty, and adapted by James Magruder.
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Scott Robbe, Veteran Activist Was Part of Founding ACT UP, Queer Nation, Out in Film, and Film and Theater Producer Dies at 66
Robbe was an active member and active in the of founding ACT UP and Queer Nation, two direct action groups in New York City in the late 80s and into the 1990s.
He was part of an ACT UP undercover team, led by activist Peter Staley, that gained access to the New York Stock Exchange in September 1989 to protest record high price of AZT, and that led public pressure on Burroughs Wellcome to eventually lowered its drug price on the only approved HIV/AIDS Drug at at the time by 20%.
“Scott didn’t flinch when our lawyers would warn us of all the possible charges and maximum sentences we’d face for infiltrating a powerful institution,” said Peter Staley, who chronicled his ACT UP days in the new memoir, Never Silent. “When it came to fighting for his dying gay brothers, he’d always reply, ‘I’m in.’”
In 1991, Robbe relocated to the West Coast and cofounded Out in Film at a time when several high-grossing films were built based on stereotypic and unflattering depictions of gay characters — Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs, Oliver Stone’s JFK and Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct.
Robbe’s television credits include the first-ever LGBT comedy special on TV for Comedy Central in 1993, called “Out There,” and hosted by Lea DeLaria. Robbe was on the creative team for the 2003 series “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and he produced shows for Lifetime, Comedy Central, VH1, Children’s Television Workshop and American Playhouse.
“Scott was a fearless activist, always on the front lines, whether he was protesting pharmaceutical company greed or homophobia at the Oscars,” said ACT UP New York veteran Ann Northrop. “And he was a total sweetheart.”
According to Paul Algiers, a longtime friend and the executor of Scott Robbe’s estate, Robbe was in hospice care at the home of his sister, Angela, in Hartford, Wisconsin when he passed away February 21st of complications from a blood cancer he had battled for more than a year.
There will be no funeral. A celebration of Robbe’s life will be broadcast online early in 2022. Donations in Scott’s memory may be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and ACT UP New York.