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Arts & Entertainment
Angels in America (2003)
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
April 24-25, 2009 
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If you hadn’t seen Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America since its Broadway run in 1993 and 1994, and if you were waiting for the HBO-produced cinematic version to hit a screen larger than the one in your own home, then the recent two-night screening at the Museum of Modern Art of Mike Nichols’ award-winning production of Kushner’s magnum opus was, quite possibly, your own version of a dream long-deferred come true.  First of all, the setting: MOMA’s film theatres, sanctum sanctorum for cinephiles—and a movie-going audience far more respectful than most in New York.  And then the film itself—the most watched cable television event of 2003-4, winner of five Golden Globe and eleven Emmy awards—with its star-studded cast: Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker, Patrick Wilson, and Jeffrey Wright.  And then to hear anew Kushner’s language—rich and poetic, lapidary and humorous—in the service of what he once referred to as “a gay fantasia on national themes.” If you lived through the Eighties, and if many of your friends did not, then it’s almost impossible not to feel as if you too were a character in Kushner’s play—and Nichols’ direction of this staggeringly beautiful and powerful work insures that all viewers bear witness to those national themes: AIDS, and the attendant hypocrisy, mixed with politics and power—and family.  At night’s end, on both nights, applause enveloped the theatre.  As directed by Nichols, Kushner’s drama remains every bit as momentous and epic as it was when performed on Broadway.