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Tony Kushner's Angels in America is that rare entity: a work for the stage that is profoundly moving yet very funny,
highly theatrical yet steeped in traditional literary values, and most of all deeply American in its attitudes and
political concerns. In two full-length plays--Millennium Approaches and Perestroika--Kushner tells the story of a
handful of people trying to make sense of the world. Prior is a man living with AIDS whose lover Louis has left him and
become involved with Joe, an ex-Mormon and political conservative whose wife, Harper, is slowly having a nervous
breakdown. These stories are contrasted with that of Roy Cohn (a fictional re-creation of the infamous American
conservative ideologue who died of AIDS in 1986) and his attempts to remain in the closet while trying to find some sort
of personal salvation in his beliefs.
But such a summary does not do justice to Kushner's grand plan, which mixes magical realism with political speeches,
high comedy with painful tragedy, and stitches it all together with a daring sense of irony and a moral vision that
demands respect and attention. On one level, the play is an indictment of the government led by Ronald Reagan, from the
blatant disregard for the AIDS crisis to the flagrant political corruption. But beneath the acute sense of political and
moral outrage lies a meditation on what it means to live and die--of AIDS, or anything else--in a society that cares
less and less about human life and basic decency. The play's breadth and internal drive is matched by its beautiful
writing and unbridled compassion. Winner of two Tony Awards and the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for drama, Angels in America is
one of the most outstanding plays of the American theater. --Michael Bronski