Larry Kramer’s powerful play about the early days of the AIDS crisis, “The Normal Heart” seemed destined to fade away from the national or regional theater scene…for many reasons. For some, the original plays and films about the beginnings of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s seemed dated. And, it was assumed that for older audiences, it brought back unpleasant memories of that time and that younger audiences just didn’t care about an epidemic that they feel doesn’t affect them in any significant way.
That all started to change in 2011 when The Normal Heart finally made its Broadway debut; the original 1985 production occurred off-Broadway at The Public Theatre. The 2011 Broadway production was a hit both commercially and critically and won 3 Tony Awards but more importantly, it brought the play back to the center of attention both theatrically and culturally in a time when HIV infection rates have been increasing as new methods of preventing and treating HIV/AIDS are being introduced. While for some, Kramer’s play had become irrelevant, others realized its powerful messages and themes were just as important today, as they were over 25 years ago.
Recognizing the importance and power of Larry Kramer’s master work, Seattle’s Strawberry Theatre Workshop announced last year their plans to produce a revival of the work in the “near future”. Strawshop, the highly regarded local theater company known for staging both important new works and revivals of major and significant plays like “The Laramie Project” and “Breaking the Code” took 2013 off to focus on fundraising but the company has announced they are returning in January of 2014 with “The Normal Heart” in a production to be directed by Gregory Award winning director Sheila Daniels and starring Stranger Genius/Gregory Award winner Amy Thone; Intiman Artistic Director Andrew Russell in a rare acting turn, and highly regarded Seattle actors Rob Burgess and Peter Crook. The production runs through January 16, 2014 to February 15 at the Erickson Theatre Off Broadway. Tickets available at BrownPaper Tickets.