THE NORMAL HEART Reviews

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Jordan Catalano
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#1
Posted: 4/27/11 at 10:37am
Not to disrespect Mr. Mike, but I didn't see a thread for this already started.

Here's hoping the critics see in this play what almost everyone here has.
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scott68
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#2
Posted: 4/27/11 at 12:10pm
Wishing them well! I suspect the reviews will be very much in line with the general buzz, but I'm still crossing my fingers.
"Why, I make more money than... than... than Calvin Coolidge! PUT TOGETHER!"
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My name wasn't, isn't, and will never be Scott.
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#2
Posted: 4/27/11 at 1:46pm
Break a leg cast and crew! Looking forward to seeing it on 5/21.
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Jordan Catalano
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#3
Posted: 4/27/11 at 6:08pm
I think I may need to go back tomorrow night.
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#4
Posted: 4/27/11 at 6:47pm
amNY is very positive with 4 stars:

"Mantello captures Weeks’ confrontational, occasionally hysterical spirit but combines it with easygoing charisma and convincing emotion.

He is joined by an outstanding ensemble cast including Jim Parsons as a flamboyant young volunteer, Ellen Barkin as a paralyzed doctor attempting to spread the truth about the disease, and John Benjamin Hickey as Weeks’ lover Felix."


http://www.amny.com/urbanite-1.812039/theater-review-the-normal-heart-4-stars-1.2842751
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#5
Posted: 4/27/11 at 7:11pm
I hope the reviews are everything this play deserves. I wish so much that I could be there tonight, and send endless love and thanks home.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#6
Posted: 4/27/11 at 7:20pm
a huge 'break a leg" to the amazing cast, crew, and staff of The Normal Heart. Have an amazing Opening Night!
duncan2
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#7
Posted: 4/27/11 at 7:39pm
Slant Magazine posted a review on its "House Next Door Blog", written up by Ed Gonzalez (I suppose it would be termed a "RAVE":


http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/2011/04/the-normal-heart-on-broadway-and-larry-kramers-legacy-of-provocation/

Updated On: 4/27/11 at 07:39 PM
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#8
Posted: 4/27/11 at 7:40pm
I saw it last night. I didn't plan to see this, until folks on here started raving about it. I cried so hard at the end, all those names multiplying.
Pomita
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#9
Posted: 4/27/11 at 7:45pm
A heartfelt Good Luck to the cast and crew on opening night. So excited for the reviews!
topherkraz78
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#10
Posted: 4/27/11 at 7:51pm
Tsk! Pomita, a big no no in theater productions to wish them 'goodluck' you wish them to 'break a leg' :)
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orangeskittles
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#11
Posted: 4/27/11 at 7:54pm
Well, you've doomed them now. Pans all around.
Like a firework unexploded
Wanting life but never knowing how
Pomita
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#12
Posted: 4/27/11 at 7:55pm
I know, I saw everyone doing that above. Just wanted to be different. :)

edit: @orangeskittles: It's the thought that counts!
Updated On: 4/27/11 at 07:55 PM
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#13
Posted: 4/27/11 at 8:07pm
Like a firework unexploded
Wanting life but never knowing how
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#14
Posted: 4/27/11 at 8:07pm
Talkin Broadway is up
It’s rare that a play or production benefits from amplified histrionics, but that’s unquestionably true of The Normal Heart. Larry Kramer’s searing 1985 polemical drama takes no prisoners and spares no sacred cows in indicting, well, most of humanity for what it sees as gross, neglectful mismanagement of resources and common sense in the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Even today, when the disease is less an ironclad death sentence than once it was, Kramer wants you fuming in the theatre and screaming your head off the instant you leave. But to achieve this, there has to be some — okay, a lot of — yelling onstage, too. And that’s the crucial element missing from Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe’s otherwise well-judged mounting of the show’s Broadway bow at the John Golden.

http://www.talkinbroadway.com/world/NormalHeart2011.html
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#15
Posted: 4/27/11 at 8:16pm
Yes, that was my crit of Mantello's portrayal... good but too subtle, needs a little fire behind it. Not a scream fest but there has to be that potential behind it.
Those Blocked: SueStorm. N2N Nate. Good riddence to stupid! Rad-Z, shill begone!
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#16
Posted: 4/27/11 at 8:17pm
orange you and I are both guilty by pointing that out as well. We can't win now! THE NORMAL HEART Reviews
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#17
Posted: 4/27/11 at 8:31pm
Backstage is a rave:

""We must love one another or die." The command comes from W.H. Auden's poem "September 1, 1939," which gives Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart" its title. Written in the teeth of one apocalyptic whirlwind, the line remains true for another: the plague of AIDS. Remaining just as true is Kramer's searing, savage howl of a play, first produced in 1985, when it was an urgent dispatch from the frontlines of a new war. That ongoing war is different today, but there's nothing dated about "The Normal Heart." Finally where it belongs, on Broadway, it can be seen now for the towering American tragedy that it is, as essential to our culture as "Long Day's Journey Into Night" or "Death of a Salesman." Being given a letter-perfect production by directors Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe, this is a "Heart" that beats with blistering but redemptive power."

http://www.backstage.com/bso/reviews-ny-theatre-broadway/ny-review-the-normal-heart-1005158922.story
Pomita
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#18
Posted: 4/27/11 at 8:57pm
Okay then, 'good luck' retracted, 'break a leg'. I didn't realize there is such a strong superstitious feeling about this turn of phrase!
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#19
Posted: 4/27/11 at 9:27pm
Entertainment Weekly is a B+: "Twitter-like brevity and restraint have never been Kramer's strong suits, and in The Normal Heart he gives free rein to all of his impulses, whims, arguments, and counterarguments about the institutional forces he believes were too slow to react to a looming epidemic that felled many of his friends. (Always one to demand the last word, the playwright is distributing a one-page letter to audiences as they exit the theater, calling for more efforts to eradicate AIDS as an ongoing 'worldwide plague.') This is not a great play, to be honest. There is too much speechifying by characters who are too easily interchangeable. But as a chronicle of a historical moment, The Normal Heart still packs a serious emotional wallop."
Review
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#20
Posted: 4/27/11 at 9:29pm
The Faster Times is positive, but seems to take some issue with the play. Still he likes the production:

"The current production of “The Normal Heart” began as a benefit reading, and has the feeling of a group effort by the theater on behalf of a cause, a fundraiser – and indeed a spokesman for the show says that the production has a “financial commitment” to The Actors Fund, amfAR, Friends in Deed and the Human Rights Campaign (It is interesting but unsurprising that GMHC is not included.)

All of this might lead one to expect that the revival of “The Normal Heart” would be a political, historical, even anthropological experience rather than a theatrically satisfying one. It is certainly true that “The Normal Heart” is not the best play to deal with AIDS (nor was it the first – William Hoffman’s “As Is” opened a month before “The Normal Heart” Off-Broadway and 26 years before “The Normal Heart” on Broadway). But “The Normal Heart” can be appreciated as a play, rather than as a cause or a series of hectoring lectures, for several reasons."


http://thefastertimes.com/newyorktheater/2011/04/27/the-normal-heart-review/
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#21
Posted: 4/27/11 at 9:41pm
Newsday is extremely positive:

"Where Raúl Esparza made a charismatic Ned in the excellent 2004 Off-Broadway revival, Mantello is a febrile, nerdy, twitchy guy who cannot help wearing his nervous system on the outside. The actor is matched, thunderbolt for thunderbolt, by Ellen Barkin as the appalled doctor, partially paralyzed by polio and overwhelmed both by her dying patients and the country's apathy.

The other 10 actors -- including John Benjamin Hickey as Ned's lover, Jim Parsons as the group's conciliatory charmer, and Lee Pace as the closeted banker -- embody Ned's friends and foes as if actual lives still depend upon them.

A letter from Kramer, updating the global disgrace, is distributed after the play, often by Kramer himself. As much as I admired his fury in '85, I remember wondering if he wasn't, perhaps, a little paranoid in his need to affix blame to a nightmare. These days, it is clear he was a prophet."


http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/theater/the-normal-heart-still-beats-today-1.2842476
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#22
Posted: 4/27/11 at 9:46pm
Hollywood Reporter is a RAVE with a love letter for Mantello:

"The production began as an Actors Fund/Friends in Deed benefit last fall, which has been briskly repackaged for the 1985 autobiographical play’s first-ever Broadway presentation. Joel Grey directed the reading and is flanked here by George C. Wolfe. Their staging is both stripped-down and dramatically full-bodied; it has a scorching eloquence that admirably serves the rage and anguish of Kramer’s text.

The cast has just two holdovers from the earlier presentation: Joe Mantello, one of New York theater’s leading directors, makes a revelatory return to acting as Kramer’s stand-in, Ned Weeks, and John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C) plays Felix Turner, the New York Times style reporter who becomes Ned’s lover. Ellen Barkin makes a blazing Broadway debut as Dr. Emma Brookner, alongside names better known for their TV credits than stage experience: Luke Macfarlane (Brothers and Sisters), Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) and Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory).

...

Mantello has not acted on a Broadway stage since Angels in America in 1994, and his raw performance is a bracing surprise. Ned is both maddening and empathetic, tormenting himself as much as everyone around him. His initial difficulty in letting down his defensiveness enough to be loved makes his early scenes with Hickey’s tremendously moving Felix funny and tender. Hickey seems to grow more skeletal before our eyes in a beautiful exchange with Ben Weeks (Mark Harelik), Ned’s lawyer brother, whose love and support come with conditions that cause a fraternal rift."


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/normal-heart-theater-review-182681
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#23
Posted: 4/27/11 at 9:47pm
What's funny is that I generally like EW. That said, I always find their theater reviews so base.
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THE NORMAL HEART Reviews#24
Posted: 4/27/11 at 9:49pm
EW gives really honest film, music, book, and television reviews that I (usually) agree with. Their theater reviews, however, are hardly ever negative.
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