Raul Esparza to Play Lead in Worth Street Revival of Normal Heart

News   Raul Esparza to Play Lead in Worth Street Revival of Normal Heart
 
Raul Esparza will star in the Worth Street Theatre Company's Off-Broadway revival of The Normal Heart. The production will begin at the Public Theater's Anspacher space on April 6.
Raul Esparza
Raul Esparza

Further casting has yet to be announced.

Esparza is currently starring in the Broadway musical Taboo, which will close Feb. 8. The versatile actor made his name with a series of acclaimed performances in Cabaret, The Rocky Horror Show and tick, tick...BOOM!.

For the revival, the company will take up residence at The Public Theater, which first produced the play 20 years ago. Jeff Cohen, Worth Street artistic director, will direct the drama, one of the first plays about the emergence of AIDS — and the anger, frustration and fear surrounding it.

The play ran a year at The Public after its debut in 1985.

The lack of response by politicians and the media is addressed in the angry, visceral drama about Ned Weeks and his circle of friends. Writer and AIDS activist Kramer told Variety that if people screamed as much about AIDS in its early years as they are about the flu-like SARS today, "It is a plague that never need have happened."

The action of the play takes place between July 1981 and May 1984, making it a period piece before "Will and Grace," before domestic partner benefits and before powerful drugs were developed to suppress HIV and prolong the lives of those infected. The disease is now an international epidemic.

In the original production, Brad Davis created the role of crusader Ned Weeks, and Joel Grey later took over the part.

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