Joel Grey to Direct One-Night-Only Event on Broadway: “The Normal Heart”
Rick Miramontez / Molly Barnett / Andy Snyder
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FOR RELEASE ON MONDAY, JULY 19, 2010
JOEL GREY TO DIRECT
ONE-NIGHT-ONLY EVENT ON BROADWAY:
25th ANNIVERSARY STAGED READING OF
“ T H E N O R M A L H E A R T ”
BY LARRY KRAMER
DARYL ROTH PRESENTS SPECIAL EVENING WITH ALL-STAR CAST
TO BENEFIT THE ACTORS FUND AND FRIENDS IN DEED
MONDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2010
AT THE WALTER KERR THEATRE
New York, NY – Joel Grey will direct an all-star cast in an historic, 25th anniversary staged reading of Larry Kramer’s seminal drama, The Normal Heart, on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre (219 West 48th Street), producer Daryl Roth announced today. The one-night-only event, taking place on Monday, October 18, will benefit The Actors Fund and Friends In Deed.
The Normal Heart focuses on the terrifying early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York and the criminal silence of official America in dealing with it. First produced by Joseph Papp and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg for New York’s Public Theater, the play became a cause célèbre and ran for 294 performances. Many of the issues the play addresses – including gay marriage, AIDS, gays in the military, and the healthcare system – are as relevant today as they were 25 years ago.
Among the countless highlights of Joel Grey’s career is his starring role in the original production of The Normal Heart at The Public Theater, in which he followed Brad Davis in the central role of Ned, based semi-autobiographically on Mr. Kramer himself. This experience accords Mr. Grey an incomparable insight into the play, as well as a passionate commitment to the piece and to the issue it revolutionized: the AIDS epidemic.
“Seeing this play in 1985 and acting in it was a life changing experience,” Grey commented. “I’m grateful that Larry Kramer has entrusted me with his masterpiece.”
“I am so honored to be presenting Larry Kramer’s seminal play with Joel Grey at the helm,” Roth said. “Joel’s own history with the piece has given him such profound insight into the text, and it will be a thrill to see his staging. The Actors Fund and Friends In Deed are both very close to our hearts, and I couldn’t be happier that they will benefit from this one-night-only event.”
Frank Rich in the New York Times wrote of the original production, “The stage seethes with the conflict of impassioned, literally life-and-death argument.” In his Newsweek review, Jack Kroll called it, “Extraordinary … a fierce and moving human drama.” Other responses included Liz Smith in the New York Daily News: “An astounding drama . . . a damning indictment of a nation in the middle of an epidemic with its head in the sand. It will make your hair stand on end even as the tears spurt from your eyes;” while legendary director Harold Prince stated, “I haven't been this involved – upset – in too damn long. Kramer honors us with this stormy, articulate theatrical work.”
Casting news and ticket information for this one-night-only event will be announced shortly.
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that helps everyone – performers and those behind the scenes – who works in performing arts and entertainment, helping nearly 12,000 people directly each year, and hundreds of thousands online. Serving professionals in film, theatre, television, music, opera, radio and dance, The Fund’s programs include social services and emergency assistance, health care and insurance, housing, and employment and training services. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Actors Fund has – for over 125 years – been a safety net for those in need, crisis or transition.
Founded by Mike Nichols and Cynthia O’Neal in 1991, Friends In Deed — The Crisis Center for Life-Threatening Illness — has helped transform many thousands of lives through a wide array of free programs and services. Friends In Deed provides emotional and spiritual support for anyone diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening physical illnesses. Support is also available for family, friends, and caregivers of those who are ill, and anyone dealing with grief and bereavement. All services are free of charge.