Larry Kramer's landmark AIDS play, The Normal Heart, gets a rare New York revival when the Alchemy Theatre Company of Manhattan brings it to Off-Broadway's Center Stage space, Jan. 19. Proceeds from the first days of previews (through Jan. 17) will benefit the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center.
Penned in 1984, The Normal Heart told of Ned Weeks, a gay activist enraged at the government's apathetic response to the AIDS crisis. While William Hoffman's As Is gave Broadway theatregoers a tender, familial perspective on AIDS, Normal Heart, at the Public Theatre, was more of an angry rallying cry. David Drake's own solo play, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, stemmed from seeing the Normal Heart and its unification of the gay community. Kramer later followed up the drama with an angrier and more disheartened sequel, The Destiny Of Me.
Robert Saxner directs the revival, which stars Tom Kelly, Chet Carlin, Kate Levy, Richard Lear, Robert Bowen Jr., Scott Galbraith, Mark O'Donnell and Larry Purifoy. Designing the show are Justine Shin Pearson (set) and Richard Latta (lighting).
Alchemy Theatre's revival of The Normal Heart began previews Jan. 15. The company is dedicated to giving "otherwise unknown and early-career artists" a chance to practice their craft in a highly visible public venue.
For tickets ($12) and information on The Normal Heart at the Center Stage space, 48 West 21st St., call (212) 642-6592. -- By David Lefkowitz