Burning Coal Theatre Company Will Present THE NORMAL HEART

Burning Coal Theatre Company Will Present THE NORMAL HEART

Burning Coal Theatre Company will present Larry Kramer's modern American classic The Normal Heart directed by Emily Ranii. The play will run January 18 - February 4, 2018 (January 18 - 20, 25 - 27, February 1 - 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm and January 21, 28 and February 4, 2018 at 2 pm at Burning Coal's Murphey School Auditorium, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC 27604. Tickets are $25 regular admission or $20 for seniors (65+) or $15 for students, teachers and active military. Student Rush tickets at curtain time, if available, are $5 apiece. The first Sunday, January 21st at 2 pm is Pay What You Can Day and will be Audio described by Arts Access. All Thursday performances are $15 as are group tickets (10+) for any performance. Tickets and further information can be found at www.burningcoal.org or by calling 919.834.4001. NOTE: Play contains strong language and subject matter and is recommended for adults or students with parental guidance.


Larry Kramer's first play, The Normal Heart, premiered at New York City's Public Theatre, produced by Joseph Papp, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and scenery by Trinity Repertory Company designer Eugene Lee and Keith Raywood and lighting by Natasha Katz, another Trinity alumnus. It starred Brad Davis (known for the films Midnight Express and Chariots of Fire), D.W. Moffett and Concetta Tomei. The play is a fictional dramatization of events in the playwright, Larry Kramer's own life. In the early 1980s, an unidentified illness began striking down strong, young, gay men across the world, but particularly in New York and San Francisco. No one knew what was killing them, but they were sure that the illness caused terrible suffering prior to death. As detailed in Gary Shilts' book And the Band Played On, few people seemed willing to do anything about what became known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or 'AIDS'. The press, particularly in New York City, refused to mention it in any significant way. US leaders at the highest level wouldn't speak of it, nor would Congress act with any urgency to fund research into the illness. The nation's top disease research agency raced to get the first drugs to combat the illness approved while fighting to keep possible solutions from France and other countries off the market. Organized criminals, who owned the Gay bathhouses in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, literally put a gun to the heads of the health inspectors in those cities, threatening to kill them if they tried to close down the bathhouses, the likely epicenter of the illness. The major nonprofit that collects and distributes blood was aware it had a tainted supply for eighteen months before letting the public know about that fact, causing many to be needlessly infected. In short, the world went more than a little bit crazy as this horrible medical scourge took its inexorable toll. Then one man stood up. The Normal Heartis his story.

ABOUT Larry Kramer
Larry Kramer is an American writer, playwright and screenwriter. He was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay Women in Love(from the D.H. Lawrence novel) starring Alan Bates and Glenda Jackson. In 1970, his confrontational novel Faggots caused a stir within the Gay community for its condemnation of promiscuity within the community. In the early 1980s, in response to the growing AIDS crisis, he co-founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis. GMHC has evolved into the world's largest private organization assisting people living with AIDS. His play The Normal Heart served as a wakeup call about the impending catastrophe of the AIDS epidemic and is widely considered to have set in motion a series of events that led to the saving of many, many lives. He wrote a follow-up toThe Normal Heart, which was not as successful.

Emily Ranii holds a degree in theatre from Cornell University and an MFA from Boston University. She currently teaches at BU and at Wheelock College in Boston. For Burning Coal, she has directed The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo & Juliet,Heisenberg and others. As an actor, she appeared with the company as Juliet at the age of 14 and later in Watership Down, The Steward of Christendom and others.


Marc Geller of Manhattan will play Ned Weeks in the production. The cast also includes Julie Oliver (The Heretic) and Preston Campbell (The Royale) of Raleigh, Marc Filiaci (Enron) of Chapel Hill, Michael Babbitt (Romeo & Juliet) of Hillsborough, Byron Jennings, III (Ruined) of Cary, Cody Hill (Peter Pan & Wendy) of Apex, James Merkle (Sunday in the Park with George) of Spring Lake, David Hudson (James Joyce's The Dead) of Durham, NC. Scenery and lighting will be by ED Intemann of Ithaca, NY, properties are by Raleigh's Elizabeth Newton and Costumes by Kahei Shum of Thomasville, NC. David Ranii of Raleigh will design the sound. The production stage manager is Cary's Adam Budlong and the sound engineer is Raleigh's Juan Isler.

Burning Coal Theatre Company is one of Raleigh's intimate, professional theatres. Burning Coal is an incorporated, non-profit [501 (c) (3)] organization. Burning Coal's mission is to produce literate, visceral, affecting theatre that is experienced, not simply seen. Burning Coal produces explosive reexaminations of overlooked classic and modern plays, as well as new plays, whose themes and issues are of immediate concern to our audience, using the best local, national and International Artists available. We work toward a theatre of high-energy performances and minimalist production values. The emphasis is on literate works that are felt and experienced viscerally, unlike more traditional linear plays, at which audiences are most often asked to observe without participating. Race and gender non-specific casting is an integral component of our perspective, as well as an international viewpoint.

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