The angels may be in America, but they are currently dazzling London audiences. The National Theatre’s 2017 revival of Tony Kusher’s two-part play Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and Angels in America: Perestroika have received rapturous reviews by the critics. The revival features a starry cast including Nathan Lane, Andrew Garfield, and Russell Tovey. The production is directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winner Marianne Elliott.
It has been announced that National Theatre Live will broadcast the sold-out production, directed by Tony and Olivier Award winner Marianne Elliott, this July to cinemas in the US and internationally from the National’s Lyttelton Theatre. The first part, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, will be broadcast on Thursday, July 20 with the second part, Angels in America: Perestroika, broadcast the following Thursday, July 27.
Ben Brantley of The New York Times praises the revival “Angels in America confirms its place in the pantheon of dramas that stretch toward the heavens … No work of theatre since has quite matched its reach.” Dominic Cavendish of The Daily Telegraph cheers the show as a “Start-to-Finish sensation!”. The London Theatre calls it “Beyond Unmissable. A rare marriage between a genuinely terrific play with a first-rate production and knock-out cast. It offers theatrical perfection in the deepest sense.”
Angels in America: Millennium Approaches originally premiered at the Eureka Theatre Company, in San Francisco California in May of 1991. The National Theatre produced the piece in 1992 and on May 4, 1993, it came to Broadway under the direction of George C. Wolfe. November 23, 1993 found its Part II Perestroika on the Great White Way, performing in rotating repertory with Millennium Approaches. The cast featured Tony-winning turns by Ron Leibman, Stephen Spinella, and Jeffrey Wright, and included Joe Mantello, Marcia Gay Harden, Kathleen Chalfant, David Marshall Grant, and Ellen McLaughlin. Both parts won the Best New Play Tony Awards in their respective seasons.
Angels in America (subtitled A Gay Fantasia on National Themes), takes audiences back to the world of 1980s New York City where the ugly spectre of AIDS is beginning to grab-hold of the gay male population in an unforgiving Reagan America. The stories of several gay men (and the people they love and hurt) play out as the disease shapes and alters their lives. One on them keeps having divine experiences when an angel appears to him and announces that he is a new prophet with a message to spread.
For tickets to the National Live Theatre presentations in movie theatre near you, visit Fathom Events.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.