The Normal Heart – Broadway Review

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.

Cast of The Normal Heart

The performance received a spontaneous standing ovation – the very moment that the lights came down – from a very industry heavy audience that is not likely to give the requisite standing ovation given at every Broadway show these days.  Following the curtain call, the audience continued to applaud and applaud well after the house lights came one, begging for the cast to come back to the stage and be acknowledged for their great work.
 
The sheer force and passion behind Larry Kramer’s writing is as powerful, moving and needed as it ever was. This production is bound to be a sleeper hit and get some of that fanfare as the word spreads.
 
Contact my colleagues here at New York Guest to get tickets to this important play today. The run is limited, only 12 weeks, so don’t miss out!
 
— Ash
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Filed under Broadway News, Broadway Review, Staff Intro

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