The flight to New York or London is a long one and not currently on most of our to-do lists. But in one of its very few upsides, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to experience blockbuster theater productions that were previously out of reach (in more ways than one). Case in point: London’s National Theatre’s much-lauded 2017 production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, which can now be viewed on the company’s NT at Home streaming platform.
The epic two-part drama about the scourge of AIDS during the Ronald Reagan administration was hailed as “the most thrilling American play in years” by the New York Times. It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The National Theatre production, with Nathan Lane, transferred to Broadway for a limited run in 2018, which sold out before it opened. It received a record-breaking 11 Tony Award nominations, as well as a win for Best Play.
An eight-member cast portrays more than 20 living, dying, and dead real-life and fictional characters, including Roy Cohn (the always-fabulous Lane), the closeted gay lawyer who advised Sen. Joseph McCarthy in his witch hunt against supposed communists.
The two parts of Angels in America — Millennium Approaches and Perestroika — can be staged separately but have maximum impact when performed together in a single sitting, as they were here. It’s an intense, deeply moving experience that’s well worth the eight-hour time investment. The parts can be rented separately for $9.99 each, but it’s much smarter to subscribe for a month at $12.99, which provides access to more than a dozen NT productions, including a terrific staging of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. For details visit ntathome.com.