Angels In America: Signature Theatre Company to revive Tony Kushner�s plays

Signature Theatre Company have announced that the theatre�s 20th Anniversary season in 2010-2011, celebrating author Tony Kushner, will feature the first New York revival of Kushner�s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning epic work, Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes.

The production will be directed by Michael Greif with Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika presented in repertory. Signature�s Tony Kushner season will also include two more works to be announced.

The production of Angels In America is made possible by a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as part of a $1.25 Million grant to Signature Theatre Company.

�I'm very excited about my Signature season and of course I'm very honored to have been chosen,� Tony Kushner said. �I've spent some of my best nights watching the work Jim Houghton and Signature Theatre Company has produced. It seemed to Jim and me that this is a good moment to bring Angels back to New York, and I'm delighted that Michael Greif has agreed to direct it. Michael and I have worked together and known each other for most of our careers. He's a serious, generous, incredibly smart and superbly talented artist; I love his passionate commitment to actors, to plays, to the theater. I think the Signature's the perfect space for the demands of Angels, which is both epic and intimate. I can't wait to see how it all turns out!�

Michael Greif commented, �Mounting Tony�s exquisite play in the intimate Signature Theatre will be an extraordinary challenge but will offer even more extraordinary rewards. I know I�ll be aided by an astonishing group of actors and designers anxious to wrestle with this masterpiece. I cherish my continued collaboration with Tony and the Signature.�

�I still remember the thrill of encountering Tony Kushner�s Angels In America for the first time nearly 20 years ago and being astounded by the sweep and theatricality of this brave and impassioned piece,� said Signatures artistic director Jim Houghton. �We are privileged to be celebrating Tony�s work in our milestone 20th Anniversary Season and we�re exceedingly grateful to The Mellon Foundation for its unparalleled support and for making this first New York revival of Angels In America possible.�

Angels In America was one of the most critically acclaimed and heralded plays of the 1990s and established Tony Kushner as a major new voice in world theatre. Frank Rich, The New York Times, praised it as �the most thrilling American play in years�.

The plays were developed in productions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and London, before opening on Broadway in 1993. Part One: Millennium Approaches, opened 4 May 1993 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and Part Two: Perestroika, opened 23 Nov 1993, also at the Walter Kerr, with the two parts playing in repertory. Both parts of Angels In America won Tony Awards in 1993 and 1994 for Best Play and Millennium Approaches won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Kushner adapted the plays for an HBO mini-series, directed by Mike Nichols, which premiered in 2003 and won Golden Globe and Emmy Awards for Best Miniseries.

Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia On National Themes is set in late 1985 and early 1986, as the first wave of the AIDS epidemic in America is escalating and Ronald Reagan has been elected to a second term in the White House. The play�s two parts, Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, bring together a young gay man with AIDS and his frightened, unfaithful lover; a closeted Mormon lawyer and his valium-addicted wife; the infamous New York lawyer Roy Cohn; an African-American male nurse; a Mormon housewife from Utah; and a steel-winged, prophecy-bearing angel; as well as the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, an ancient rabbi, the world�s oldest living Bolshevik and a Reagan administration functionary, among many others � all played by a company of eight actors.

Tony Kushner's (Playwright) plays include 'A Bright Room Called Day,' 'Angels in America, Parts One and Two,' 'Slavs!,' 'Homebody/Kabul' and 'The Intelligent Homosexual�s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.' Kushner's awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for Best Play, two Obie Awards for Best Play, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Mid-Career Playwright, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and a Cultural Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Michael Greif's (Director) was nominated for Tony's for his helmship of 'Next to Normal, 'Grey Gardens' and 'Rent' and he is the director of the Broadway musical 'Next to Normal' currently playing at the Booth Theatre. Grief directed Kushner's 'The Intelligent Homosexual�s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures' at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. His many Off-Broadway credits include 'Landscape of the Body,' 'A Few Stout Individuals', 'Satellites' and 'Dogeaters' (Obie). Grief was the artistic director at California's La Jolla Playhouse from 1995-99.

Originally published on

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