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Encyclopedia > Angels in America

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is an award winning play in two parts by American playwright Tony Kushner. It has been made into both a television miniseries of the same name and an opera by Peter Eötvös. The play is written for eight actors, each of whom plays two or more roles. Serge Sudeikins poster for the Bat Theatre (1922). ... Template:Unsourced A playwright, also known as a dramatist, is someone who writes dramatic literature or drama. ... Tony Kushner (born July 16, 1956) is an award-winning American playwright most famous for his play Angels in America, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. ... Angels in America is an award winning 2003 HBO miniseries adapted from the play of the same name by Tony Kushner. ... The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. ... Peter Eötvös (born 1944) is a composer and conductor. ... Dual role refers to one actor playing two or more roles, which may be deliberately scripted in a play or film, or merely be a by-product of a low budget in one particular production. ...


Production history

The first part, Millennium Approaches, was commissioned and first performed in May 1990 by the Center Theatre Group at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, as a workshop. Kushner developed the play with the Mark Taper Forum, with which he has a long association. It received its world premiere in May 1991 in a production performed by the Eureka Theatre Company of San Francisco, directed by David Esbjornson. It debuted in London in a Royal National Theatre production directed by Declan Donnellan in January 1992, which ran for a year. The Mark Taper Forum is a small (<1000 seats) theater-in-the-round (thrust stage) at the Los Angeles Music Center. ... Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ... The Mark Taper Forum is a small (<1000 seats) theater-in-the-round (thrust stage) at the Los Angeles Music Center. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The Royal National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge The Royal National Theatre is a building complex and theatre company located on the South Bank in London, England immediately east of the southern end of Waterloo Bridge. ... Declan Donnellan is a British theatre director. ...

The second part, Perestroika, was still being developed as Millennium Approaches was being performed. It was performed several times as stage readings by both the Eureka Theatre (during the world premiere of part one), and the Mark Taper Forum (in May 1992). It received its world premiere in November 1992 in a production by the Mark Taper Forum, directed by Oskar Eustis and Tony Taccone. A year later on 20 November 1993, it received its London debut at the National Theatre, again directed by Declan Donnellan, in repertory with a revival of Millennium Approaches. November 20 is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ...

The play debuted on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre in 1993, directed by George C. Wolfe, with Millennium Approaches being performed in May and Perestroika joining it in repertory in November. Both Millennium Approaches and Perestroika were awarded the Tony Awards for Best Play back to back in 1993 and 1994 respectively. Both parts also won back to back Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Play. Broadway theatre[1] is the most prestigious form of professional theatre in the U.S., as well as the most well known to the general public and most lucrative for the performers, technicians and others involved in putting on the shows. ... George C. Wolfe (September 23, 1954 - ) is an African-American playwright and director of theater and film. ... What is popularly called the Tony Award® but is formally the Antoinette Perry Award is an annual American award celebrating achievements in theater, including musical theater. ... A Tony Award for Best Play has been awarded since 1947. ... Created in 1955, the Drama Desk Award was created to recognize Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows in addition to Broadway shows. ...

Performed as a whole, the play runs to a length of around seven hours.

Plot summary

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Set in New York City in the mid-1980s, Act One of Millennium Approaches introduces us to the central characters. Louis Ironson is a neurotic, homosexual Jew who lives with his lover, Prior Walter. When Prior is suddenly stricken with HIV, however (still a poorly understood disease), Louis moves out. Meanwhile, closeted homosexual Mormon and Republican law clerk Joe Pitt is offered a major promotion by his mentor, the McCarthyist Roy Cohn. However, Joe doesn't immediately take the job because he is worried about his Valium-addicted wife Harper. A neurosis, in psychoanalytic theory, is an ineffectual coping strategy that Sigmund Freud suggested was caused by emotions from past experience overwhelming or interfering with present experience. ... Species Human immunodeficiency virus 1 Human immunodeficiency virus 2 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS, a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections). ... The term disease refers to an abnormal condition of an organism that impairs function. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Mormonism. ... The Republican Party, often called the GOP (for Grand Old Party, although one early citation described it as the Gallant Old Party) [1], is one of the two major political parties in the United States. ... In the United States and Canada, a law clerk is a person who provides assistance to a judge in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions. ... A 1947 comic book published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society warning of the dangers of a Communist takeover. ... Roy Marcus Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986) was an American lawyer who came to prominence during the investigations by Senator Joseph McCarthy into Communism in the government and especially during the Army-McCarthy Hearings. ... Diazepam, brand names: Valium, Seduxen, in Europe Apozepam, is a 1,4-benzodiazepine derivative, which possesses anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, sedative and skeletal muscle relaxant properties. ...

As the seven-hour play progresses, Prior finds himself being visited by ghosts and angels who proclaim him as a prophet; Joe finds himself struggling to reconcile his religion with his sexuality; Louis struggles with his ideology and the contradictions within it that threaten to destroy his happiness (his love for Prior and his inability to deal with Prior's sickness, his love for America as an institution versus his disgust for what Louis sees as the country's institutionalized system of homophobia, and his love for Joe Pitt and his disgust and revulsion when he discovers that Joe's political mentor and idol is Roy Cohn); Joe's mother Hannah moves to New York to attempt to look after Harper only to befriend Prior after a failed attempt by Prior to confront Hannah's son; and Roy finds himself in the hospital, his only companions being the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg and two nurses, one a former drag queen and Prior's best friend, who must consequently deal with Louis's constant demands for updates on Prior's health. This article is about the paranormal. ... The Annunciation - the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear Jesus (El Greco, 1575) An angel is an ethereal being found in many religions, whose duties are to assist and serve God. ... In religion, a prophet (or prophetess) is a person who has directly encountered the numinous or the divine and serves as an intermediary with humanity. ... This article or section cites very few or no references or sources. ... NY redirects here. ... A ghostly woman coming down the stairs. ... The Rosenbergs Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg (1915-1953) and Julius Rosenberg (1918-1953) were American Communists who captured and maintained world attention after being tried, convicted, and executed for spying for the Soviet Union. ... Drag queens Luc DArcy and Jerry Cyr and friend at Montreals 2003 Divers/Cité pride parade. ...

The play is filled with moments of black comedy and tragedy. It is deliberately performed so that the moments requiring special effects often show their theatricality. Most of the actors play multiple characters (e.g., the actress playing Prior's nurse also appears as the Angel of America). There are heavy biblical references and references to American society, as well as some fantastical scenes including voyages to Antarctica and Heaven, as well as key events happening in San Francisco and at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... In general usage a tragedy is a play, movie or sometimes a real world event with a sad outcome. ... Special effects (abbreviated SPFX or SFX) are used in the film, television, and entertainment industry to create effects that cannot be achieved by normal means, such as depicting travel to other star systems. ... This article focuses on the education and regulation of nurses. ... The Bible (From Greek &#946;&#953;&#946;&#955;&#953;&#945;&#8212;biblia, meaning books, which in turn is derived from &#946;&#965;&#946;&#955;&#959;&#962;&#8212;byblos meaning papyrus, from the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos which exported papyrus) is the sacred scripture of Christianity. ... Young people interacting within an ethnically diverse society. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion. ... Bethesda Fountain Cherubs against a stem modelled with cattails supporting the upper basin Bethesda Fountain is the central feature on the lower level of Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, New York. ... Central Park is a large public, urban park (843 acres or 3. ...

Spoilers end here.

HBO miniseries

For the main article, see Angels in America (miniseries)

In 2003, HBO Films created a miniseries version of the play. Kushner adapted his original text for the screen, and Mike Nichols directed. HBO broadcast the film in various formats: three-hour chunks that correspond to "Millennium Approaches" and "Perestroika," as well as one-hour "chapters" that roughly correspond to an act or two of each of these plays. The first three chapters were initially broadcast on December 7, to international acclaim, with the final three chapters following. "Angels in America" was the most watched made-for-cable movie in 2003 and won both the Golden Globe and Emmy for Best Miniseries. Angels in America is an award winning 2003 HBO miniseries adapted from the play of the same name by Tony Kushner. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... HBO (Home Box Office) is an American premium cable television network. ... Mike Nichols (born Michael Igor Peschkowsky) is an Academy Award winning movie director of films such as The Graduate and Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He was born on November 6, 1931 in Berlin, to a Jewish Russian family. ... December 7 is the 341st day (342nd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Golden Globe Awards are American awards for motion pictures and television programs, given out each year during a formal dinner. ... An Emmy Award. ...

Kushner made certain edits or changes to his play (especially Part II, "Perestroika") in order for it to work onscreen, but the HBO version is generally a remarkably faithful representation of Kushner's original work. Kushner has been quoted as saying that he knew Mike Nichols was the right person to direct the movie when, at their first meeting, Nichols immediately said that he wanted actors to play multiple roles, as had been done onstage.

The lead cast includes Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Justin Kirk and Mary-Louise Parker. This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... Mary Louise Streep, mostly known as Meryl Streep (born June 22, 1949) is a two-time Academy Award-winning, six-time Golden Globe-winning, two-time SAG-winning, Grammy Award-nominated and BAFTA Award-winning American actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film. ... Thompson in the 1989 film The Tall Guy Emma Thompson (born April 15, 1959) is a two-time Academy Award and BAFTA-winning English actress, comedienne, and screenwriter. ... Justin Kirk is an American stage and film actor known for playing Prior Walter in Mike Nichols screen adaptation of Angels in America, for which he received an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series. ... Mary-Louise Parker (born August 2, 1964 in Fort Jackson, South Carolina) is an American actress whose work in theatre and film has won her international acclaim. ...

Awards and critical reception

Millennium Approaches

  • 1990 Fund for New American Plays/Kennedy Centre Award
  • 1991 Bay Area Drama Critics Award for Best Play
  • 1991 National Arts Club's Joseph Kesselring Award
  • 1992 London Evening Standard Award for Best New Play
  • 1992 London Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play
  • 1993 Drama Desk award for Best Play
  • 1993 New York Drama Critics Circle award for Best Play
  • 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
  • 1993 Tony award for Best Play

The National Arts Club is a New York City-based private arts club [...] dedicated to furthering art and artists in America. ... Headlines of the Evening Standard on the day of London bombing on July 7, 2005, in Waterloo Station The Evening Standard is a British tabloid newspaper published and sold in London and surrounding areas of southeast England. ... The Pulitzer Prize is an American award regarded as the highest national honor in print journalism, literary achievements, and musical composition. ... What is popularly called the Tony Award (formally, the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre) is an annual award celebrating achievements in live American theater, including musical theater, primarily honoring productions on Broadway in New York. ...


  • 1992 Fund for New American Plays/Kennedy Centre Award
  • 1992 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best New Play
  • 1994 Tony Award for Best Play
  • 1994 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play

The play merited inclusion as the very last item in Harold Bloom's controversial list of what he considered to be the most important works of literature, The Western Canon (1994). This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ...

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Angels in America

  Results from FactBites:
Angels in America - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1502 words)
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a play in two parts by American playwright Tony Kushner.
"Angels in America" was the most watched made-for-cable movie in 2003 and won both the Golden Globe and Emmy for Best Miniseries.
Angels in America at About Gay Movies : Synopsis, gay interest, review, quotes, pictures and more.
Angels in America review (1882 words)
"Angels in America" is set mainly in late 1985 and early 1986 in New York City.
"Angels in America" does not really suggest that the nurse characters are angels, or at least, that they in particular are angels.
But that is clearly not Kushner's vision of "angels;" the Angel, for instance, does not exactly conform to the common stereotype of chastity and self-sacrifice.
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