Angels In America

Millennium Approaches


The Cold War- a non direct conflict between the United States and the former U.S.S.R. that resulted in a phenomenon in the United States known as "The Red Scare".

Red Scare- A period in the United States, during the Cold War, where the nation was afraid of the spread of communism. They arrested anyone who they believed to have communist sympathy, including Julius and Ethel Rosenburg who were executed as communist spies.

Who was president?- Ronald Reagan. He was a republican who beat Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election.

HIV/AIDS- The general attitude towards these diseases during this time was that only gay people and drug user could get.

Homosexuals- After 1991, there was a slow shift towards the acceptance of homosexuality. Before 1991, three thirds of the population believed homosexuality was always wrong.

Angels in America

Wednesday, April 23rd, 6pm

2700 F St NW

Washington, DC

You should come. Its great.


Angels in America focuses on the stories of two troubled couples, one gay, one straight: "word processor" Louis Ironson and his lover Prior Walter, and Mormon lawyer Joe Pitt and his wife Harper. After the funeral of Louis's grandmother, Prior tells him that he has AIDS, and Louis panics. He tries to care for Prior but soon realizes he cannot stand the strain and fear. Meanwhile, Joe is offered a job in the Justice Department by Roy Cohn, his right-wing, bigoted mentor and friend. But Harper, who is addicted to Valium and suffers anxiety and hallucinations, does not want to move to Washington.The two couples' fates quickly become intertwined: Joe finds Louis crying in the bathroom of the courthouse where he works, and they strike up an unlikely friendship based in part on Louis's suspicion that Joe is gay. Roy learns that he too has AIDS, but tells the doctor he must diagnose him with cancer so he will not lose his clout. Prior's illness and Harper's terrors both grow worse. Louis strays from Prior's bedside to seek anonymous sex in Central Park at night. Fortunately, Prior has a more reliable caretaker in Belize, an ex-drag queen and dear friend. Prior confesses to Belize that he has been hearing a mysterious voice. We get to hear the voice after Belize leaves the room. Joe calls him mother drunk and tells her he is gay and she then moves to New York. The first parts ends with Pior seeing a holy light.

Character Description and Cast

Prior Walter - The boyfriend Louis abandons after Prior reveals that he has AIDS. Prior becomes a prophet when he is visited by an Angel of God. Played by Daniel Radcliff

Louis Ironson-Louis embodies all the stereotypes of the neurotic Jew: anxious, ambivalent and perpetually guilty. Yet that guilt does not prevent him from leaving his lover Prior when he contracts AIDS. Played by Zach Braff

Joe Pitt - A Mormon, Republican lawyer at the appeals court. Joe does not know how to admit to his own homosexuality to himself. Played by Zachary Quinto

Harper Pitt - Joe's wife, a Valium-addicted agoraphobic women trapped in a failing marriage who hallucinates and invents imaginary characters to escape her troubles.

Played by Jennifer Aniston

Roy Cohn - A famous New York lawyer and power broker, Roy Cohn was a real-life figure whom Kushner adapted for his play. Roy is the play's most vicious and disturbing character, a closeted homosexual who disavows other gays and cares only about amassing clout. Played by Charles Shaughnessy

Belize - A black ex-drag queen and registered nurse, Belize is Prior's best friend and Roy's caretaker. Played by Micheal Clarke Duncan

Hannah Pitt - Joe's mother, who moves from Salt Lake City to New York after Joe confesses he is gay. Played by Meryl Streep

Prior I - Prior's ancestors who are summoned from the dead to help prepare the way for the Angel's arrival. Prior I is a medieval farmer. Played by James Frain

Prior II- Prior II a seventeenth- century Londoner who is more sophisticated.

Played by Johnthan Meyers

Ethel Rosenberg - A real-life Jewish woman who was executed for treason during the McCarthy era. Played by Ethel Rosenburg

Playwright Bio

Tony Kushner is an American playwright who was born in New York. His family is Jewish. Kushner moved to New York to begin his undergraduate college education at Columbia University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Medieval Studies in 1978. He wrote Angels in America in 1989. It is spilt into two parts Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. In total both parts equal about seven hours in length.