Angels in America
Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches, courtesy of Arena Stage

When Angels in America premiered on Broadway 30 years ago, elements of the world created in the “gay fantasia on national themes” were horrifyingly realistic. Without sufficient antiretroviral drugs, people were dying daily from AIDS while fighting with a government that refused to care for those who were suffering—or even name the virus publicly. While an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, other national themes Tony Kushner’s magnum opus touches on—the callousness of neoconservatism, addiction and mental illness, the lingering shadow of Roy Cohn—remain present in today’s world. Angels in America is, at its core, a political play, and one that Washington audiences will benefit from seeing. For this 30th-anniversary production, Arena Stage has assembled a cast of local luminaries, with Justin Weaks playing the truth-telling nurse Belize and Edward Gero, often remembered for his portrayal of Antonin Scalia in Arena’s The Originalist, playing Cohn. Kushner’s script forces the audience to consider all sides of the many sociocultural issues it contains—it’s fitting then, for this production to take place in Arena’s round Fichandler Stage, where the audience can take in every element of the action. Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches opens March 24 and runs through April 23 at Arena Stage. $56–$96.