Patricia Wettig, Patrick Breen, Luke MacFarlane, Christopher J. Hanke Explore The Normal Heart at Arena Stage
By Andrew Gans
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater presents the 2011 Tony Award-winning production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, directed by Tony winner George C. Wolfe, beginning June 8.
Performances of the award-winning drama will continue through July 29 in the Kreeger Theatre. Opening night is June 14.
Patrick Breen, who played Mickey Marcus in the Broadway production, now heads the cast as AIDS activist Ned Weeks, the role played on Broadway by Tony winner Joe Mantello. "Brothers and Sisters" star Luke MacFarlane, who played Craig Donner/Grady on Broadway, is Felix Turner.
The cast also features How to Succeed's Christopher J. Hanke as Tommy Boatwright, Patricia Wettig (Holly Harper on ABC’s "Brothers & Sisters," FOX's "Prison Break") as Dr. Emma Brookner, Tom Berklund (Broadway's The Addams Family) as Craig Donner/Grady, Michael Berresse (Broadway's A Chorus Line) as Mickey Marcus, Chris Dinolfo (Round House Theatre's Next Fall) as David, Jon Levenson (understudy for Broadway's The Normal Heart) as Hiram Keebler/Examining Doctor, Nick Mennell (Broadway’s A Free Man of Color) as Bruce Niles and John Procaccino (Lincoln Center Theater's Blood and Gifts) as Ben Weeks.
"Last year when we did the revival on Broadway it was thrilling to see critics rediscover what a great American play The Normal Heart is, and to see audiences, young and old, respond with such emotion and ferocity to the story," said director Wolfe in a previous statement. "I'm so excited to be a part of bringing Larry's astonishing, funny, moving play to DC and to The Arena."
"I consider Washington my hometown and it's been exceedingly upsetting to me that it’s taken so long for The Normal Heart to be professionally produced there and doubly exciting that Arena is doing it at last," added playwright Kramer. "This is the most important city for this play. I hope Washington will respond to it as it finally joins with the many productions it's had all over the world."
The Normal Heart reunites Broadway design team members, including set designer David Rockwell, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, lighting designer David Weiner, sound designer/original music composer David Van Tieghem and projections designer by Batwin & Robin. Joining the creative team are restaging director Leah C. Gardiner, stage manager Amber Dickerson and assistant stage manager Kurt Hall.
The story of a city in denial, The Normal Heart, press note state, "unfolds like a real-life political thriller—as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence. A quarter-century after it was written, this outrageous, unflinching and totally unforgettable look at the politics of New York during the AIDS crisis remains one of the theater's most powerful evenings ever."
The Normal Heart played a limited, sold-out engagement on Broadway last season at the John Golden Theatre and was produced by Daryl Roth, Paul Boskind and Martian Entertainment in association with Gregory Rae and Jayne Baron Sherman/Alexander Fraser.
(San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater will open its 2012-13 season with Normal Heart, directed by five-time Tony Award winner Wolfe. Performances are scheduled for Sept. 13-Oct. 7 at the American Conservatory Theater. Casting will be announced at a later date.)
For ticketinformation visit arenastage.org.
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