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Angels in America: two parts, two seasons

Angels in America at the Wilma

Kate Czajkowski and Luigi Sottile in the Wilma Theater's Angels in America, Part One: Millenium Approaches

Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater, one of the city’s leading playhouses, is concluding its 2011/12 season with Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches. The first part of Tony Kushner‘s acclaimed two-part saga exploring love, sexuality, and politics at the height of the AIDS crisis opens tonight.

The year is 1985.  In New York City, Roy Cohn, the politically powerful right-wing lawyer angrily denies his diagnosis of AIDS while his protégé – a court clerk and Republican Mormon – struggles with a Valium-addicted wife.  Simultaneously, an ailing yet spirited gay man begins to hear messages from a supernatural being that build to an exhilarating conclusion.

The play took the theater world by storm in the early 1990s, when its subject matter was still prominent in the public consciousness. Decades after the height of the AIDS epidemic, it remains an intense and rewarding dramatic experience.

After a summer break, the Wilma will kick off its 2012/12 season with Part Two: Perestroika, the finale of Kushner’s “Gay Fantasia on National Themes.”

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches runs through July 1. Visit wilmatheater.org for info and tickets.