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"Angels in America: Millennium Approaches" opens Nov. 14

11/06/2012

The Miami University department of theatre production “Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches," by Tony Kushner and directed by Rosalyn Erat Benson, will be performed at 8 p.m. Nov. 14-17, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 18, in Gates-Abegglen Theatre. The play is often lauded as one of the most important plays of the last half of the 20th century.

Kushner’s epic “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” has garnered many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and two Tony Awards for Best Play.

“Part One, Millennium Approaches” is set in New York City in 1985 at the height of the Reagan Era and in the midst of lack of public acknowledgement of the AIDS epidemic. Over the course of the play, Kushner uses fantasy, theatrical magic and a blend of comedy and realism to explore themes of love, death, identity and ethics. All of these work together to form a portrait of American life in the 1980’s and the end of a millennium, and a work of lasting impact that looks deeper than politics or societal roles for shared humanity.

Kushner is a widely produced and award-winning playwright well-known for creating provocative dramas that focus on AIDS, politics and America's gay subculture. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; Tony Awards for Best Play; Obie Awards for Best Play; and a Cultural Achievement Award from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, along with others.

Cast and crew: left to right; top, Mika Clifford; third row: Collin Campana, Brendan Monte, Sheldon White; second row: Daniel Lees, Laura Jewell, Cameron Elliott, Jen Studnicki; first row: Christi Mueller, Rosalyn Erat Benson, Carly Mungovan. (photo by Sarah Senff)
Cast and crew: left to right; top, Mika Clifford; third row: Collin Campana, Brendan Monte, Sheldon White; second row: Daniel Lees, Laura Jewell, Cameron Elliott, Jen Studnicki; first row: Christi Mueller, Rosalyn Erat Benson, Carly Mungovan. (photo by Sarah Senff)
Erat Benson is the assistant dean of the School of Creative Arts at Miami and a visiting instructor of theatre. Stephen Sondheim’s "Assassins" and Sam Shepard’s "Fool for Love" are two of the favorite shows she has directed at Miami.

“Angels in America: Millennium Approaches” was commissioned and performed in 1990 by the Center Theatre Group at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles as a workshop and received its world premiere in 1991 by the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco. The second half, “Angels in America, Perestroika,” was still being developed as “Millennium Approaches” was running and received its world premiere in 1992 at the Mark Taper Forum. The play debuted on Broadway in 1993 and both parts were awarded the Tony Award for Best Play back to back in 1993 and 1994. The play was made into an HBO film and mini-series in 2003. The movie was the most watched movie in 2003 and won both the Golden Globe and Emmy for Best Miniseries.

Tickets, $6 students, $8 seniors, and $9 adults, are available at the box office in Shriver Center, 529-3200, or www.tickets.muohio.edu.

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