Photos: First Look At The Cast of ANGELS IN AMERICA At Arena Stage

Written by one of the country's most celebrated playwrights, Tony Kushner, and directed by internationally acclaimed Hungarian-American director János Szász.

By: Mar. 17, 2023
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Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announced today the cast and creative team of its upcoming production of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, which will run March 24 April 23, 2023, in the iconic in-the-round Fichandler Stage.

Written by one of the country's most celebrated playwrights, Tony Kushner, and directed by internationally acclaimed Hungarian-American film and theater director János Szász, Arena Stage's production will reimagine this great American epic through innovative in-the-round staging, making it a "must-see" theater event. Press Night will be held on Thursday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m. For information and tickets, please visit arenastage.org/angels.

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, won both the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and four 1993 Tony Awards®, including Best Play (it was nominated for nine Tony Awards®). The gripping story follows how the lives of six New Yorkers intersect at a time when society and politics are rapidly changing, including a gay man abandoned by his lover when he contracts HIV, and a closeted Mormon lawyer's stalling marriage to his pill-popping wife. This spring marks the 30th anniversary of its Broadway premiere.

"János Szász is a superbly talented Hungarian director in both theater and film," said Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. "He brings a unique vision to each project. His film director's eye enhances his ability to create a wild and unbridled world on stage visually, as well as draws deep relationships from the actors. We met on an international exchange through Philip Arnoult and the Center for International Theatre Development many years ago and was knocked out by his work. I immediately invited him to Arena to direct A Streetcar Named Desire in 2001. I always love it when someone from another part of the world directs an American classic."

"I have always worked with classic material," shared Szász. "Angels in America is, for me, a classic. It is classical in a way that the most modern dramas are. For me this play is very poetic. A story of loyalty vs. abandonment, suffering and pleasure, fear of death and sensuality. And a celebration of love! Yes, sometimes hopeless, but beautifully funny."

In addition to staging Tennessee Williams' landmark work-also in Arena's in-the-round Fichandler Stage-Szász has an extensive history directing bold adaptations of classics, such as his groundbreaking productions of Mother Courage and Her Children, Uncle Vanya, The Seagull, and more at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"It has been 22 years since I was at Arena with Streetcar," reflected Szász. "I was honored when Molly invited me back after so many years to stage Angels in America. I can hardly find the words to express my appreciation. My family left our country. But I am finding a new home here. I am finding a new stage. I am grateful forever."

Angels in America's prominent themes-including antisemitism, prejudice, and creating one's own community-have particular resonance for Szász. "János has directed plays throughout Hungary, Norway, and the United States, and has a big film career in Europe," said Smith. "Sadly, the rise in antisemitism in Europe put him and his family at risk. Their home was raided, and their lives threatened. My partner Suzanne and a member of our Board along with staff worked with János to help him and his family come to the U.S. I am so pleased that he is here at Arena. It would have been heartbreaking to lose his artistry."

"It doesn't look like a 30-year-old drama. It's contemporary. It's timeless," explained Szász, drawing comparisons between AIDS and COVID-19. "We just experienced our own epidemic. We faced a crisis. wondering if we are going to die, if our children are going to die. I want this production to speak to today, reflecting the reality of relationships today, politics today."

"Angels in America is an epic play. And it is being staged by an epic director," Smith summarized. "This is going to be combustible."

In addition to its fully staged production of Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, Arena Stage will also host a one-night only reading of Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika, on Monday, April 17, at 7:00 p.m. in its Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle, that will be free and open to the public. More information, including how to RSVP, will be shared at a later date.

Returning to Arena Stage are cast members John Austin (Holiday), Frank Britton (Orpheus Descending), Edward Gero (The Originalist), Susan Rome (Indecent), and Justin Weaks (The 51st State).

Making their Arena Stage debuts with Angels in America are cast members Michael Kevin Darnall (Studio Theatre's The Hot Wing King), Veronica del Cerro (Ford's Theatre's Trip to Bountiful), Brandon Haagenson (Shakespeare Theatre's Our Town), Billie Krishawn (Mosaic Theater's The Till Trilogy), Nick Westrate (Broadway's Casa Valentina), and Deborah Ann Woll (HBO's True Blood).

In addition to director János Szász, the creative team includes Set Designer Maruti Evans, Costume Designer Oana Botez, Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind, Original Music and Sound Designer Fabian Obispo, Wig and Makeup Designer The Wig Associates, Dramaturg Otis Ramsey-Zöe, Casting Director Joseph Pinzon, New York Casting JZ Casting/Geoff Josselson, C.S.A. and Katja Zarolinski, C.S.A., Stage Manager Chris De Camillis, and Assistant Stage Managers Dayne Sundman and Leigh Robinette.

Tickets for Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches are $56-95 plus applicable fees. Ticket prices and availability are subject to change. Arena Stage's many savings programs include "pay your age" tickets for those aged 30 and under, student discounts, and "Southwest Nights" for those living and working in the District's Southwest neighborhood. To learn more, visit arenastage.org/savings-programs.

Tickets are available at arenastage.org. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 202-488-3300, or in person at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth Street, SW, D.C., Tuesday-Sunday, 12-8 p.m.

Photo Credit: Tony Powell

Photos: First Look At The Cast of ANGELS IN AMERICA At Arena Stage

Nick Westrate and Michael Kevin Darnall Photos: First Look At The Cast of ANGELS IN AMERICA At Arena Stage

Edward Gero, Susan Rome, Billie Krishawn, Nick Westrate, Justin Weaks, Deborah Ann Woll, John Austin, Michael Kevin Darnall

Photos: First Look At The Cast of ANGELS IN AMERICA At Arena Stage

John Austin and Deborah Ann Woll




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