Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of ANGELS IN AMERICA at Atlantis Theatrical?
Opening Atlantis Theatrical's 20th Anniversary season is its highly anticipated staging of ANGELS IN AMERICA: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES, the first part of Tony Kushner's magnum opus which will run at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati from March 22 to April 7, 2019.
In the first part of Tony Kushner's epic, set in 1980s New York City, a gay man is abandoned by his lover when he contracts the AIDS virus, and a closeted Mormon lawyer's marriage to his pill-popping wife stalls. Other characters include the infamous McCarthy-ite lawyer Roy Cohn, Ethel Rosenberg, a former drag queen who works as a nurse, and an angel. Among the twentieth century's defining works of dramatic art, ANGELS IN AMERICA remains as transcendent and as potent and timely in its concerns as when it premiered on Broadway over 25 years ago. It is now the most Tony Award-nominated play in Broadway history and the winner of 10 Tony Awards including Best Play and Best Revival of a Play.
The New York Times chief critic, Ben Brantley, has said of ANGELS IN AMERICA, "ANGELS brought theater back into the national conversation, in a way that hasn't happened again until HAMILTON." Vanity Fair calls the play, "A masterpiece!" and The Los Angeles Times raves that ANGELS is "The most provocative and affecting drama of my lifetime."
ANGELS IN AMERICA stars some of the finest and most awarded actors from film, television, and the stage. The 8-person cast features, in alphabetical order, Art Acuña as Roy Cohn, Pinky Amador as the Angel, Angeli Bayani as Harper Pitt, Topper Fabregas as Prior Walter, Cherie Gil as Hannah Pitt, Nelsito Gomez as Louis Ironson, Andoy Ranay as Belize, and Markki Stroem as Joe Pitt. The entire cast will also be playing multiple roles throughout the show.
Bobby Garcia, who directs ANGELS IN AMERICA, says, "Having taken on the show before, I knew I needed a cast as fearless, as unexpected, as complex, and as artistically brilliant as Tony Kushner's play. I am thrilled that this production of ANGELS IN AMERICA features every single actor I had originally envisioned for this retelling of Kushner's gleaming modern classic. The cast consists of some of the most acclaimed, awarded, and respected actors in the country. I can't wait to get into a room with all of them and create a brand new and exciting production of ANGELS IN AMERICA for a new generation of theatergoers."
ANGELS IN AMERICA has set design by Faust Peneyra, lighting design by JonJon Villareal, projection design by GA Fallarme, costume design by Odelon Simpao, Angel costume by Rajo Laurel, sound design by Glendfford Malimban, and hair and make up design by Johann dela Fuente.
ANGELS IN AMERICA: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES kicks off Atlantis' 20th Anniversary.
For tickets and more information, please visit TicketWorld.com.ph.
Let's see what the critics have to say...
Robert Encila-Celdran, BroadwayWorld: Prior Walter is the classic everyman with a spine-chilling grit that marks one of Kushner's central themes. The character requires strong physical stamina and mental acuity to sustain the illusion of incontinence and decay. Prior is a spiritual warrior with a keen sense of humor.
Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN: Fabregas, who earned positive reviews for playing an AIDS patient in The Necessary Theater's "The Normal Heart," provided the play's emotional center with a touching performance that captures the conflicting emotions of a once-joyful individual left behind to bravely face the fight of his life alone. Fabregas even managed to inject humor in a remarkably nuanced portrayal that's both sad and hopeful.
Philip Cu-Unjieng, Metro.style: The cast is an earnest, highly talented group of individuals; but if I had to single out my favorites, one would be Art Acuña and his Roy Cohn. Art creates a cadence, a staccato speech pattern, that allows him to 'inhabit' Cohn, and he's impressively consistent throughout the play-no mean feat. And my other favorite would be Topper Fabregas. He literally 'owns' Prior, dishing out the 'bon mots' and sallies that work as the precious shafts of humor that pepper the drama, and relieve us of the tension and depressing nature of the subject matter, without foregoing levity. There's a mastery with which these two attack their roles, and we perk up whenever either of the two take or share the spotlight.
Giselle P. Kasilag, BusinessWorld: Stroem was a revelation. It was a tentative beginning but he grew into the character - allowing the conflict of his identity crisis to reveal itself through the gentle stressing of certain phrases in conversations rather than forcing a mannerism or action. It was a very thoughtful performance that clearly illustrated how much he has grown as an actor.
Marco Sumayao, Town & Country: Rounding out the lead cast is Angeli Bayani as Harper Pitt, Joe's wife. Harper suffers from severe agoraphobia and anxiety, and eventually falls into drug addiction as a result of Joe's emotional distance. Bayani is absolutely charming in the role, and thrives in scenes where Harper's hallucinations take whimsical turns. The manner in which she blabbers about matters far larger than herself during panic attacks could very well be used as supplementary material for psychology courses. More than the accuracy of her portrayal, however, it's Bayani's ability to simultaneously elicit laughs and concern from the audience that make her an inspired choice for the role.