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Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches Paperback – May 1, 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Angels in America (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 119 pages
  • Publisher: Theatre Communications Group; First Edition, Later Printing edition (May 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559360615
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559360616
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Plays are difficult things to read. It is rare to find a play that is widely read outside of classroom assignments. We have become so accustomed to the narrative form that it can be discombobulating to read stage directions, set descriptions, and stark lines of characters with little sense of the nuance of delivery, the emotion behind the words. Of course, we also have to thank Mr. William Shakespeare for scaring most people away from reading plays in play form. Great that the Bard is, many people look back on their school assignments of reading with a certain amount of angst. Play form is difficult enough, but surely Shakespeare could be translated into English!
`Angels in America, Pt. 1: Millennium Approaches' is, linguistically speaking, a much more accessible play. But it still suffers (as perhaps all plays must) from the lack of description beyond the words. In this regard, plays are very much more like poetry - they tend to latch on to single elements rather than taking the fuller form of narrative, and leave the rest to the imagination of the reader.
Tony Kushner's play is imaginative. Like great playwrights of old, he takes contemporary situations and figures and embellishes them, keeping faith with the overall meanings in society and the overall characters he's using, but is careful to make it known that this is a work of fiction.
We begin the play, staged (we are told) in the barest of scenery with a minimum of scene shifting and no black-outs - imagine, if you will, almost a stream of consciousness as the play progress - there is a funeral. A Jewish funeral. Not an unusual scene in New York, but the Rabbi doesn't know the woman, and so gives generic funereal orations.
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Format: Paperback
A Humanization Tony Kushner's Angels in America skillfully presents genuine heartaches: loss, addiction, love, sexuality, and sickness. The play contrasts searches for integrity with complete denials of the self and releases a sense of authentic frustration. Kushner provides fascinating characters with realistic strengths and flaws. Courageously standing in the face of stereotypes, he embraces the development of individuals. Joe's identity becomes clear as he allows himself to develop into a more truthful person. Roy, on the other hand, continues to build walls hiding who he really is.
Kushner not only brilliantly captures real personalities while dealing with fantasy, but also relates them to the complicated, sometimes heartless world in which they exist. He poignantly addresses the loneliness and loss that is living, but does so with a sharp humor that keeps the pages rapidly turning. Angels in America is an incredible dramatic masterpiece that challenges a transformation of the soul into a true reflection of who we really are.
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Format: Paperback
Tony Kushner's "Angels in America: Millenium Approaches" is as close as you can come right now to reviewing the recent six-hour HBO special directed by Mike Nichols. That was set as two three-hour pieces, playing on back-to-back weekends. The first weekend was the complete three-act 'Millenium Approaches'; the second was Kushner's follow-up, 'Perestroika.'
'Millenium Approaches' won a Pulitzer for Kushner, and it's easy to see why. It's an amazingly literate discourse and masterful interweaving of three strands of gay life in America as it stood before triple therapy arrived and slowed down the impact of AIDS.
By contrast, 'Perestroika' feels different and distant - lots of soliloquies, extreme anger, archsymbolism - I felt like the high point of the six-hour spread was the angel's dramatic appearance at the end of 'Millenium.'
Remembering back to the play, I think all the actors in Nichols adaptation really found new levels for each of their characters. For example, Pacino nailed Roy Cohn's perverse sense of logic: homosexuals (and you can hear the quotes around it when Pacino utters the word) have no power; I have power; I am not a homosexual; therefore, I do not have AIDS, I have liver cancer. I've read Cohn's biography and this is truly the way he saw things. Kushner has him nailed & Pacino really captures the essence of Kushner's words.
The other thing worth noting is that Mary-Louise Parker does wonders with the role of Harper Pitt. I remember thinking of the character as overwhelmed on stage (compared to the other actors), but, wow, does she stand out in Nichols' adaptation. It's the best performance in the film, in my eyes.
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Format: Paperback
Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize winning Book, "Angels in America," was a non-stop, adventure story through the lives of many very interesting people! Like most humans, who have a pulse, I enjoy getting involved in other peoples lives, without them knowing it. It is exciting when I accidently pick up someone's phone conversation when I am using a portable phone, should I hang up? or should I listen? I had the same feeling when I read "Angels in America", I almost felt guilty as I read because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It was like watching a soap opera, I became ingulfed in the drama. Kushner kept my mind wondering on what was on the horizon by craftly switching back from one scene to another, but at the same time he did not let me think to long. Personally, being a white, hetrosexual male, I do not experience racism, sexism, or any descrimination first hand, (at least I don't think so)but I do see it all around me. Kushner drops the reader into the minds of many different characters, such as; homosexuals, AIDS infected individuals, black drag queens, corrupt politicans, mormans, and crazies to name a few. By doing this Kushner reaches all the readers no matter what their past experiences are, and puts everyone at an even level. This even level is of the view point of the characters. After reading these different personalities and "living" with these characters through "Angels in America", the reader understands their struggle for every day existence. In conclusion, I think that reading this book has enlighted me and I would reccomend it to everyone! (over eighteen of course) "Angels in America" is truly a great piece of American literature and shows the struggle for Americans to fullfill there dreams, and the nightmares that sometimes occur in the process.
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