Though many evenings you’ll find me walking around my Morningside neighborhood with my favorite four-legged companion, Harold (a sprightly 2-year old Wheaten Terrier), as one of New York Guest’s team of expert Concierges since 2009, I also love to get out and experience all that New York City has to offer. Especially if it’s an unexpected surprise…!
This spring there are a lot of high-profile shows opening on Broadway. Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to see one that is sneaking into town without a lot of fanfare – I caught the first preview performance of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart which is directed by Tony winner and Broadway legend Joel Grey.
The play chronicles the early years of the onset of AIDS in the NYC gay community from 1981-1983, and the response (or lack thereof) from government, medical and homosexual leaders.
This production is in really good shape for a first preview. As can be expected for the first performance in front of a live audience, there were few technical and lighting glitches here and there, but wow, was I impressed!!!
Joe Mantello, who just happens to be the director of the Broadway smash hit Wicked, is the lead, and his performance is incredible. Ellen Barkin, known from Ocean’s 12 and Drop Dead Gorgeous, plays a frustrated doctor treating an exponentially growing number of infected patients. She has a powerful monologue that stops the show cold. The entire cast is uniformly strong and contains other famous faces you will instantly recognize.
I attended the show with five friends, all of whom were floored – both with anger at the way the beginning of the AIDS epidemic was handled, and with raw emotion for the characters living through this horrible and scary situation.