Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Part One: Millennium Approaches
Part Two: Perestroika

By Tony Kushner
Directed by Tony Taccone
Main Season · Roda Theatre
April 17–July 22, 2018

Running times:
Part One—3 hours and 30 minutes, including two 15-minute intermissions
Part Two—3 hours and 40 minutes, including two 15-minute intermissions

Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning masterpiece finally arrives at Berkeley Rep in its entirety—directed by artistic director Tony Taccone in his 20th anniversary season! First staged 26 years ago, and originally commissioned by the Eureka Theatre in San Francisco while Taccone was serving as artistic director, this fierce and astounding two-part drama is at once an epic exploration of American politics, gay identity, and mythology, and a personal story of love and loyalty. In today’s sociopolitical climate, Kushner’s universal message of compassion and inclusion makes Angels in America as timely as ever.

Creative team

Tony Kushner · Playwright
Tony Taccone · Director
Takeshi Kata · Scenic Design
Montana Blanco · Costume Design
Jennifer Schriever · Lighting Design
Jake Rodriguez · Sound Design
Bray Poor · Sound Design
Alexander V. Nichols · Projection Design
Andre Pluess · Composer
U. Jonathan Toppo · Fight Director
Amy Potozkin · Casting
Tara Rubin Casting · Casting
Sarah Rose Leonard · Production Dramaturg
Flying By Foy · Flying
Jeremy Chernick · Special Effects Design
Michael Suenkel · Production Stage Manager
Leslie M. Radin · Assistant Stage Manager
Will Detlefsen · Associate Director
Madeleine Oldham · Associate Sound Designer
Lillis Meeh · Associate Special Effects Designer
Se Oh · Assistant Scenic Designer
Jessica Berman · Dialect Coach
Amy Bobeda · Hair & Makeup Designer
Sofie Miller · Production Assistant

Cast

Danny Binstock · Joseph Porter Pitt / Prior 1 / The Eskimo / The Father
Randy Danson · The Angel / Emily, A Nurse / Sister Ella Chapter / A Homeless Woman / Mormon Mother
Francesca Faridany · The Angel / Emily, A Nurse / Sister Ella Chapter / A Homeless Woman / Mormon Mother
Randy Harrison · Prior Walter / The Man in the Park
Benjamin T. Ismail · Louis Ironson
Bethany Jillard · Harper Amaty Pitt / Martin Heller
Lisa Ramirez · The Angel / Emily, A Nurse / Sister Ella Chapter / A Homeless Woman / Mormon Mother
Carmen Roman · Hannah Pitt / Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz / Henry / Ethel Rosenberg / Aleksii Antedilluvianovich Prelapsarianov
Stephen Spinella · Roy M. Cohn / Prior 2
Caldwell Tidicue · Belize / Mr. Lies

The long-awaited Angels in America homecoming revival has landed at Berkeley Rep and it’s a revelation. Tony Taccone’s revival is magnificent in its urgency, clarity and almost therapeutic power in the Trump era…As with any truly sublime piece of art, Angels exhilarates and exhausts, thrusting you back upon yourself to discover your own truths…The Tony-winning [Stephen] Spinella makes a gobsmacking [Roy] Cohn, a monster who sucks people in with his animal charm. The sheer breathless audacity of this Cohn, alternately seducing and brutalizing his prey, is endlessly fascinating in the age of #MeToo…This is a primal ritual so intense it stays with you long past the final curtain. You can see each part separately but the marathon is incomparable…Kushner dares you to dive deep into the world of the play and leave the theater feeling all kinds of woke, forged within a community of believers in art. In a society that venerates the instant over the insightful, a culture that would rather post than ponder, Angels feels like quite a miracle.”

Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

The outstanding feature of Tony Taccone’s production at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre is the way all elements of the staging are superbly harmonized to serve the storytelling…Taccone’s integrative production respects the characters too much to convert their stories into shoulder-tapping editorials…The fictional universe Kushner constructs already speaks so directly to eternal American contradictions and conundrums that no topical updating is required…It is no backhand compliment to say that the modesty of the acting is one the production’s signal virtues. Not that there’s any lack of vivid color or sparkling humor. [Randy] Harrison’s Prior losing himself in Norma Desmond drag as a refuge from the horror of a body erupting in opportunistic infections is a courageous sight to behold. (Kudos to costume designer Montana Blanco.) The abject way [Stephen] Spinella’s satanic Roy tempts Joe Pitt (Danny Binstock), his closeted Mormon lawyer acolyte, with a career-making opportunity in Washington is cringingly unforgettable. And when [Caldwell] Tidicue’s Belize raises an ironic eyebrow at some spouted hypocrisy by Louis (Benjamin T. Ismail), Prior’s politically progressive, emotionally regressive lover, the floodgates of laughter are open. But it’s the quiet honesty of the company that repays our investment in this marathon drama…The overwhelming feeling this smart, rigorous and deeply stirring production of Angels in America left me with is gratitude. Gratitude for a play that grapples so complexly with contemporary America. Gratitude that this “Gay Fantasia on National Themes” still lives up to its audacious subtitle. And gratitude that a playwright of genius had the imaginative scope to create a theatrical world that artists and audiences can enter for an extended period to rediscover care, compassion and mutual responsibility as fundamental democratic values always in need of defending.”

Los Angeles Times

The play’s staggering genius is on full display in Taccone’s marvelous production, as is Kushner’s prescience (Russia, Republican politics, the environmental crisis)…Carmen Roman is spectacular in every role, as is Francesca Faridany as the imperious angel…Stephen Spinella is playing the nightmare known as Roy Cohn, and he is ferociously good. He’s dangerously charismatic and funny and just as dangerously full of fight and venom. To watch his scenes with Roman as Ethel Rosenberg is to feel a most curious (and soul satisfying) twist in karmic retribution…It is truly astonishing how much life there is in Angels in America, past, present and indeterminate future. The whole thing leaves you somewhat stunned and more than a little revitalized. It engages the heart and the mind in equal measure and makes you work to feel part of a community not just with the performers and characters but with all the artists involved and the audience members surrounding you. That’s a profound thing, but perhaps not all that surprising. Angels in America, to paraphrase Kushner himself, pulses to the ‘tick of the infinite.’”

Theater Dogs

For theatergoers, [Angels in America] is high on most bucket lists of ‘must sees,’ and a long-anticipated revival currently at Berkeley Rep, under the direction of longtime Tony Kushner champion Tony Taccone, does not disappoint…Many of the conversations feel like the ones you’ll overhear today in urban coffee shops across the United States, from real talk about race relations and white privilege to support for Palestinians to a gay man’s questioning whether or not their “girl talk” is an act of misogyny. It speaks strongly to Kushner’s ability to read between the lines of American vernacular history in order to have created this instantly recognizable and resonant world that stands the test of time, angels and all…If you were wondering where your next binge-watch might come from, wonder no more.”

KQED Arts

It’s an emotionally satisfying play because of, and not despite, its length. Tony Taccone…has done a masterful job…”

SF Weekly

Leaping manBerkeley Rep revives Angels in America, in all its soaring spirit…In a way that American drama has not since equaled, Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning script combines a joyful imagination, linguistic wizardry, mischievous theatricality, vertiginous intellect, daring yet self-aware politics and all-encompassing heart.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Watch now

Official trailer: Angels in America

Get a sneak peek at Tony Kushner’s epic masterpiece, and see why critics call director Tony Taccone’s revival “magnificent” and “a revelation!”

Behind the scenes: Meet Danny Binstock

Meet Danny Binstock and hear his thoughts about his character, Joe Pitt, in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

Behind the scenes: Meet Caldwell Tidicue

Meet Caldwell Tidicue and hear his thoughts about his character, Belize, in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

Behind the scenes: Meet Bethany Jillard

Meet Bethany Jillard and hear her thoughts about her character, Harper Pitt, in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

Behind the scenes: Meet Benjamin Ismail

Meet Benjamin Ismail and hear his thoughts about his character, Louis Ironson, in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

Behind the scenes: Stephen Spinella

Stephen Spinella has a unique perspective on how Tony Kushner’s Angels in America might resonate with the young LGBTQ community today.

Behind the scenes: Randy Harrison

Randy Harrison talks about what Tony Kushner’s Angels in America has taught him and why he thinks today’s young LGBTQ people should see the play.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt

See the quilt arrive at Berkeley Rep for the run of Angels in America and hear from AIDS Memorial Quilt volunteer Kelly Rivera Hart.

Behind the scenes: Tony Taccone

Director Tony Taccone talks about the genesis of Angels in America and why Tony Kushner’s masterpiece is still so relevant today.

Behind the scenes: Meet Stephen Spinella

Meet Tony Award winner Stephen Spinella and hear what it’s like to perform in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America again, after having been part of its original Broadway premiere.

Behind the scenes: Meet Randy Harrison

Meet Randy Harrison and hear his thoughts about his character, Prior Walter, in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

Behind the scenes: Photo shoot

Go behind the scenes of the Angels in America cast photo shoot!

Behind the scenes: Meet and greet

Director Tony Taccone introduces Angels in America at the staff meet and greet on the first day of rehearsals.

Listen up

REPISODES: The Berkeley Rep Podcast presents a series of conversations with artists, experts, and activists on themes inspired by Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

See photos

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Photos courtesy of Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Photos may not be used for commercial or personal use without written permission from Berkeley Rep, and unauthorized alteration, reproduction, or sale of these images is strictly prohibited. Journalists and other members of the media, please visit our online press room.

 

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