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Angels in America, Part One: Millenium Approaches

a Drama
by Tony Kushner

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 1285

SHOWING : June 17, 2005 - August 19, 2005



In 1985, the AIDS epidemic is just starting. In Manhattan the lives of a group of strangers, friends and lovers will be touched by it beyond repair. Prior and Lou are gay partners, however when Prior falls ill, Lou leaves him, unable to handle the illness and possible death. Meanwhile two supposedly straight men work together in high-powered jobs... right-wing conservative Roy Cohn and his aide Joe Pitt. As Roy is diagnosed with AIDS, Joe begins to accept that he may well be gay. Meanwhile Joe's unfulfilled and lonely wife Harper takes valium and longs for escape. With God having abandoned heaven in favour of the interest of Earth, an angel comes to Prior to proclaim him a prophet and lead him to what he must do.

This profound and touching drama of the new millenium is an amazing fantasia about AIDS, at the dawn of a new millennium, religion, politics, identity and an angel with a mission.

For Mature Audiences
Directed by OSA Artistic Director Scott Rousseau

Director Scott F. Rousseau
Assistant to Lighting Designer Christopher Shane Dills
Stage Manager Ellen Gaydos
Assistant Stage Manager Kimberly Faith Hickman
Set Designer and Builder Nathan Hughes
Special Effects Design Michael Magursky
Asst. Director Chris Montedoro
Props Design Chris Montedoro
Lighting Designer John David Williams
The Angel Jennifer Bates
Ensemble Paine Calabro
Roy Cohn Jeroy Hannah
Harper Candace Mabry
Joe Nick Nicholaides
Belize Derek Ratcliff
Hannah Pitt, Ethel Rosenburg Kim Salome
Prior Chris Brandon Skinner
Prior chris skinner
Louis Nick Tecosky
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


very Steven Spielberg
by Okely Dokely
Monday, August 22, 2005
AiA Part 1 was, as could be expected, a wonderful production, and for my money, the better of the two installments. More about that in my Part 2 review.

Chris Skinner is one of the busiest actors in town, and is quickly becoming - if he isn't already - one of those Atlanta actors who everybody just knows, even if they've never worked with him. He deserves his success; he has a lot going for him. This was my first time seeing him do drama, and it was an interesting and curious performance. I've never seen him give any less than 1000% into any role he's played. In this one, he acts up a storm and expels so much energy and emotion, that after the show I wanted to clean him up, draw him a hot bath, and prepare him a nice chicken dinner. He proves time and time again he can carry a show, especially comedy. For now, he seems a smidge uncomfortable with drama, and at points tended to overplay things, which made me not believe him as a character, but rather an actor trying his damndest to emote. These lapses, however, lasted only about 25% of the epic. He has some unique gifts, not the least of which is being able to make believable a line like "I wish I was dead." That line is so tired and clichéd, and I suspect not many actors could give it the power that Mr. Skinner did. His biggest shining moment was when he made a surprise brief appearance as a different and unrevealable character. Remind me to give him a high five for that the next time I see him.

To the contrary, looking and seeming perfectly at ease with his character is Nick Tecosky as Louis. To my recollection, he didn't have anything too showy to do in Part 1, but did a wonderful job in both parts just being there, providing the support in the background for the characters who rant and rave and flail around doing the stuff Oscar clips are made of. Candace Mabry's performance was mesmerizing and hypnotic as the mentally disturbed, sex-starved housewife with occasional "thresholds of revelations." Derek Ratcliff as Belize just might see himself on my Best Of list at the end of the year. The man has the projection, stage presence, timing, heavenly singing voice, and clarinet skills to die for. Can he train baby seals as well? Wouldn't surprise me in the least. Finally, Jeroy Hannah, whom I've only previously seen as a mild-mannered, soft spoken backstage helper, has got one hell of a set of acting chops as Roy Cohn, the kind of role Tom Key could play in his sleep. I will go out of my way to see Mr. Hannah act again. He was marvelous.

One of my few gripes would have to be with the Italian-American nurse. I wouldn't have known she was supposed to be Italian-American if there wasn't a line in the script referencing it; the actress's accent was totally not working for me. This however, was a mere speed bump on the way to an admirable production which Mr. Rousseau should be very proud of. I want to go at least one review without running into the ground what prominent Hollywood director he reminds me of, but let me just say that this is his War of the Worlds.

And I actually thought this was better than War of the Worlds. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A Must See
by cdills87
Saturday, June 18, 2005
I saw Angels in America: Part One last night, the preview night. Like the previous reviewer, reviewing a preformance on the preview night might not be the best thing but this production is fabulous. Its message, its satire on America, politics, social hierarchy, and the relationships between people and how little things truly do affect them not to mention us all. Tony Kushner is an amzing playwright with a true gift for the written word. His characters are priceless.
The actors is the show were par for the course at OSA which is superd. The most memorable were Nick Tecosky (Louis), Jeroy Hannah (Roy Cohn), Kim Salome (Hannah Pitt & Ethel Rosenburg)... I saw her in Rebecca, she commands the stage and her voice is one of a kind... and of course Chris Skinner with his unbelievable portrayal of Prior. Prior is such a complex character and what he goes through I cannot imagine trying to portray. His battle with AIDS, his visons, the angel, all I can say is wow.
And now the Angel, the character that is alluded to throughout the play yet is only seen very briefly in part one is amazing. Tracy Moore the costme designer... who I was amazed to see there as we went to school together... did a fabulous job. Onstage has a little main stage, but in that space they litterally flew the angel. While it was only a foot or so, it was very impressive. This effect combined with the interesting set concept of Scott Rousseau, his staging, the lighting by J.D. Williams... who I have had the pleasure of working with previously..., the special effects, and the actors flawless portrayal of this epic, mature play that truly does transend time and has meaning somehow for everyone, made this show priceless.
Now for some crtiques... this was the preview night so goof ups are expected and there really weren't that many. The set, while amazing, seems to be poorly put together, there are these sets of doors that the actors and crew come in and out of that meet at a column. That column constantly wobbles when those doors are opened and closed. When the doors are opened the audience can see clearly back onto the backstage area, and if you have ever been backstage at OSA, the elevator stage right while interesting doesn't add much to a production. As a back drop there are two screens that are mounted on to a track midstage in the ceiling that slide. While it makes for an interesting scrim effect and allows set to come in and out of the elevated plaform in the back, I wish that they had been centered on the stage. The track does not allow for this though, so I understand, It' just skews the perspective, the rest of the set appears as an almost mirror image. I also wish that when the screens were opened and closed that they would be done at the same time. One will close, then the other. Not necessary but would be nice. Also the set/running crew need to work on their organization and movement of the scene changes. It seemed a little disorganized and like the crew was underutilized. Instead of several people doing something at the same time, it would be one person doing three tasks back to back taking longer. I understand that they had trouble getting a crew but it seemed like there were enough members. All in all they need to work on their flow but I am sure that they'll get better, after all it was only a preview and I understand the the longer a show runs the smoother it gets.
The music during the scene changes was too loud and I recognized a lot of the music from hit movies. Very distracting and several times ruined the mood. The sound effects/background noise, while nice in most scenes, were distracting and ill used in others. Oh, and I'm not sure on this but if I remember right from when I read the play, some modern lines were added in. For example when the Angel is coming and the lights are changing to colors, Prior says, "Oh, very Steven Spielburg" I dont think that was in the script, and I thought it killed the climax of the Angel's appearance.
All in all though, EXCELLENT, A MUST SEE!!!! I am just very critical, and the above if fixed could have made the show even better. I am sure that they will though and when I go back to see it agian and when I go to see Part Two that openes July 15th it will be even more amazing. Be sure and see this show!!!!

Kushner's Script by bluepatter
The "Very Steven Spielburg" line is actually in the published script, although not in the film (the film was cut a great deal, I imagine for purposes of length.)
Thanks by cdills87
I have actually never seen the film although I'd love to but cannot afford HBO. I tried to find my copy of the script but could not allocate it, thaks for the information, I appreciate it.
by bwayactur24
On Stage vs. The Stage by Nicky Pogs
I'm not 100% sure if Angels In America is available to rent on DVD, but if it is I would recommend watching it. The cast is outstanding, and Tony Kushner was a huge part of the production process. - however nothing of course beats this production on stage- especially the fact that it was originally directed by George C. Wolfe who is ridiculously brilliant. I had the fortune of watching him give a keynote presentation at Indiana this Spring and he is just...awesome. Anyway- the spectacle and the raw emotion the script demands makes this show a huge project to take on- but one that (as long as the right amount of work is put into it) mostly always 'wows' everyone. And I'm sure the Onstage production is no different. Wish I could catch it.
On Stage vs. On Film by Nicky Pogs
is what i meant to say...:-)
Blockbuster by Shadrach
I know Blockbuster has it because that's where I rented it. However, the DVD is also a 2-parter, so if you rent it, make sure you pick up both parts.

Saw it agian... by cdills87
I saw AiA agian and I have to say it is much smoother running and over all even better. I did not think that could happen but it is. I also like that they went back to the two intermissions and three acts like it is written unlike the one intermission at the preview. You all must see this show, it is absolutely fabulous.
by pcovin
Friday, June 17, 2005
Let me start by saying that I would not normally review a show after only seeing a preview performance because I know that a preview generally comes with a disclaimer that says "yes, we may still have some bits to work out and don't be shocked if something falls over on stage". However, after last night's preview of Angels in America at Onstage Atlanta, I feel compelled to remark upon how wonderful this production is. Granted this is only Part 1, but Scott Rousseau has done a wonderful job of assembling a very talented cast along with implementing an ingenious set design. I believe I am correct in saying that the Alliance is the only other theater in town to attempt this production, yet Onstage has succeeded in putting together a great show.

Jeroy Hannah as Roy Cohn was quite impressive, and I was truly astonished after learning that he came into this show as a last-minute replacement. This is quite a large role, and he carried it effortlessly. Nick Tecosky (Louis) and Chris Skinner (Prior) collectively pull off a great performance as a couple whose fears and emotions push them apart. Both were perfectly cast and were very believable in their roles. In fact, the entire cast did a great job of being believable. And of course, Kim Salome makes it look easy to juggle more than one role in a show, creating two distinct characters as both Joe's mother and Ethel Rosenburg, as well as an impatient waitress. Simply put, she is extremely talented and a wonderful component of this cast.

Props to stage design and lighting/special effects for making this show work on the small stage - a very creative set.

Chances are you won't see this one again in Atlanta anytime soon, so don't miss it. Looking forward to Part 2 next month.

-Philip Covin



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