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Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes: Part One: Millennium Approaches Part Two: Perestroika Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Theatre Communications Group; 1 edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559362316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559362313
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Tony Kushner's Angels in America is that rare entity: a work for the stage that is profoundly moving yet very funny, highly theatrical yet steeped in traditional literary values, and most of all deeply American in its attitudes and political concerns. In two full-length plays--Millennium Approaches and Perestroika--Kushner tells the story of a handful of people trying to make sense of the world. Prior is a man living with AIDS whose lover Louis has left him and become involved with Joe, an ex-Mormon and political conservative whose wife, Harper, is slowly having a nervous breakdown. These stories are contrasted with that of Roy Cohn (a fictional re-creation of the infamous American conservative ideologue who died of AIDS in 1986) and his attempts to remain in the closet while trying to find some sort of personal salvation in his beliefs.

But such a summary does not do justice to Kushner's grand plan, which mixes magical realism with political speeches, high comedy with painful tragedy, and stitches it all together with a daring sense of irony and a moral vision that demands respect and attention. On one level, the play is an indictment of the government led by Ronald Reagan, from the blatant disregard for the AIDS crisis to the flagrant political corruption. But beneath the acute sense of political and moral outrage lies a meditation on what it means to live and die--of AIDS, or anything else--in a society that cares less and less about human life and basic decency. The play's breadth and internal drive is matched by its beautiful writing and unbridled compassion. Winner of two Tony Awards and the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for drama, Angels in America is one of the most outstanding plays of the American theater. --Michael Bronski --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Tony Kushner's plays include A Bright Room Called Day and Slavs!; as well as adaptations of Corneille's The Illusion, Ansky's The Dybbuk, Brecht's The Good Person of Szecguan and Goethe's Stella. Current projects include: Henry Box Brown or The Mirror of Slavery; and two musical plays: St. Cecilia or The Power of Music and Caroline or Change. His collaboration with Maurice Sendak on an American version of the children's opera, Brundibar, appeared in book form Fall 2003. Kushner grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and he lives in New York.

More About the Author

Tony Kushner's plays include A Bright Room Called Day and Slavs!; as well as adaptations of Corneille's The Illusion, Ansky's The Dybbuk, Brecht's The Good Person of Szecguan and Goethe's Stella. Current projects include: Henry Box Brown or The Mirror of Slavery; and two musical plays: St. Cecilia or The Power of Music and Caroline or Change. His collaboration with Maurice Sendak on an American version of the children's opera, Brundibar, appeared in book form Fall 2003. Kushner grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and he lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

The characters in this play are close to the heart and teach us that only the truth will set us free.
KIMBERLY A. O'BRIEN
Throughout the plays as the characters were being developed, I thought Kushner did an incredible job of making the reader feel like part of the story.
dmoney93@aol.com
We both love Tony Kushner and we both think that "Angels in America" is one of the best plays we have ever read.
Jessica L. Morris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on August 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Tony Kushner's two part epic play "Angels in America" is
truly a landmark of United States literature. The two parts of the
play (subtitled "Millennium Approaches" and
"Perestroika") together represent a passionate and
intelligent exploration of American life during the era of President
Ronald Reagan. Kushner peoples his play with individuals who are for
the most part "marginal" in some way in U.S. culture. His
characters include Mormons, gay men, men with AIDS, Jews, a drug
addict, and an African-American drag queen. These various perspectives
and voices allow Kushner to create some fascinating dialogues about
the "American dream"--and about the nightmares that can go
along with it.

Kushner's cast of characters is excellently drawn, but
perhaps his most astounding creation is influential lawyer Roy Cohn, a
fictionalized version of a real historical figure. A gay Jew who is
himself viciously homophobic, Kushner's Cohn is grotesque, hilarious,
frightening, and seductive all at once. This character allows Kushner
to make fascinating statements about power, politics, and sexual
identity.

Also brilliant is Kushner's use of Mormonism and its
theology as an integral component of the play. Kushner is the first
literary artist I know of who has used Mormon themes and motifs in
such a consistently compelling and intelligent way. Kushner is, in my
opinion, neither a proselytizer for nor a basher of Mormonism, but his
presentation of troubled Mormon characters and his apparent satirizing
of some aspects of Mormon theology both strike me as potentially
controversial.
Read more ›
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've never read a book that has left me with the shocking impact that 'Angels in America' has left me. At first I felt that the book was very confusing with all of the characters, but once the storyline became clear to me, I was able to get into the heart of the matter. Tony Kushner really touches on a subject that affects today's society in an unforgettable way that no other writer has been able to do. His identification with AIDS is profound, although the book takes place at a time when AIDS was still unknown and misunderstood. Today's society may be more accepting of people's different lifestyles, but there is still a division in our beliefs and opinions. Kushner has helped me to believe that just because you are different doesn't mean you are not a human being. It's what's inside of the person that matters the most. It's what the person has to give to others that makes them human beings. Kushner's characters all have a unique personality about them; they are all different. But in the end we find that every person in the book have something in common, and that is what makes them become one in the end. It's what makes them all connected in the same way. Prior and Louis are two of the best characters in the book. Through them, all of the other characters become connected somehow by the end of the book. They all meet under strange circumstances, but it is those odd circumstances that make the book so spectacular. Roy is the most profound character that I have ever come across. He has an incurable disease that is taking his life, yet he remains in denial until the end leaving me with the question of whether the disease ever destroyed him or if he destroyed the disease.Read more ›
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Birdman on January 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
With ANGELS, Tony Kushner has accomplished what only a rare few Western writers have managed to do. Integrating biblical knowledge, classical history, myth, poetry and a vast understanding of the human heart in all of its best and worst guises, these plays illuminate with the blinding fire of the angel at its core, the great hypocrisies which lay just beneath the surface of our nation. Like Howard Zinn, and to some extent Studs Terkel, Kushner recognizes that we are not one nation under God. Instead, we seem to be a huge, selfish and confused hoarde attepting to move forward in time with primary moral references to the oldest, and in some ways, least applicable documents and sources of wisdom. Whether one believes that God is "dead" or not, I cannot imagine another work of literature which might promote a more useful theological discussion between so-called liberals and conservatives. Add to this the fact that the stories and characterization are gripping, the heroes are truly admirable and the villains reprehensible. Humans change in profound and permanent ways, and amid the pain of our time, there is -- after a reading of these remarkable plays -- still hope. For once in many years, the Pulitzer Prize moved in the right direction. Whether read or viewed on stage or in its most recent iteration as a superb HBO movie, ANGELS is one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miriam on December 3, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am in awe of Tony Kushner and these plays. Particularly loved reading Kushner's notes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Ruby on January 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the best play I've ever read. Actually, it's the best "anything" that I've ever read. I think it could be the best play ever written. It's an amazing mixture of internal and external conflicts. It's a really good commentary on societal and personal relationships. It's a excellent illustration of the lengths that a person will go to, to preserve their reality, regardless of how dysfunctional their reality is. The known is safe, regardless of how bad it is. The characters are incredibly full and alive. As you read, you find yourself identifying with and relating to the characters and their experiences. This play brings out empathy in a way that I have never experienced before. I could read it over and over and not get bored with it. I think this should be a required public school reading text. I think that everyone could benefit from reading this play. If everyone were to read this play, I believe that the world would be a much different place than it is now. I'm a public school teacher. I would love to teach this play, but I know that the "powers that be" would never allow it. However, it doesn't hurt to dream. I am testimony to the fact that you do not have to be a homosexual to identify with this play. This play touches people at a human level. I truly believe that this play would be pertinent across cultural and sexual boundaries. I highly recommend that you read it.
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