Walsh, Donovan, Kudrow & More Lead Grey's NORMAL HEART Reading 5/17

It was announced today that the complete cast is in place for Joel Grey's 25th Anniversary stage reading of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, taking place at the Geffen Playhouse (10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles, CA) on Monday, May 17 at 8 p.m. Grey will direct Dylan Walsh ("Nip/Tuck"), Tate Donovan ("Damages"), Jon Tenney ("The Closer"), Dan Bucatinsky ("Web Therapy"), Tim Bagley ("Monk"), and Alex Mapa ("Ugly Betty"), along with the previously announced cast members Lisa Kudrow ("Friends"), Clark Gregg ("The New Adventures of Old Christine"), and David Eigenberg ("Sex and the City"). The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and veteran stage, television and film actor David Youse are presenting this one-night-only event benefitting the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Jeffrey Goodman Special Care Clinic, which provides quality, free or low-cost medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The full cast of The Normal Heart is as follows: Dylan Walsh (Ned Weeks), Tate Donovan (Felix Turner), Lisa Kudrow (Dr. Emma Brookner), Clark Gregg (Ben Weeks), Jon Tenney (Bruce Niles), David Eigenberg (Mickey Marcus), Dan Bucatinksy (Tommy Boatwright), Tim Bagley (Craig Donner, Hiram Keebler), and Alec Mapa (David, Examining Doctor, Grady).

Among the countless highlights of Joel Grey's nearly sixty-year career is his starring role in the original production of The Normal Heart at The Public Theater in 1985, in which he played 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.

Tickets are $50 (general admission) and $100 (preferred seating), and can be purchased at www.lagaycenter.org/thenormalheart. Special VIP tickets are also available for $250. VIP ticket holders receive special, reserved seating and an invitation to a pre-performance reception, as well as an after-party reception with the cast.

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 was a critical sensation and ran for 294 performances.

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."

Photo credit: Monica Simoes

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