* Please note that we will be reading both Part One, Millennium Approaches and Part Two, Perestroika for book club

Book Club

Tony Kusher

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
7 – 8:30 p.m.


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)


Unfortunately, this title is not available in local public libraries

Reading Group Discussion Questions

Book club questions forthcoming.

Additional Book Club Resources

Other Works by Tony Kushner
Select Plays
A Bright Room Called Day (1985)
In Great Eliza’s Golden Time (1986)
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part One: Millennium Approaches (1992)
Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part Two: Perestroika (1992)
Slavs! Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue and Happiness (1995)
A Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds (1997)
The Good Person of Szechuan (1997)
Henry Box Brown, or the Mirror of Slavery (1998)
Death & Taxes: Hydrotaphia, and Other Plays, (1998)
Homebody/Kabul (2001)
Caroline, or Change (2002)
The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures (2009)

Other works
La Fin de la Baleine: An Opera for the Apocalypse, (opera) 1983
Brundibar, (an opera in collaboration with Maurice Sendak)
Angels in America, a miniseries by Mike Nichols (2002) – teleplay
Munich, a film by Steven Spielberg (2005) – screenplay (co-written by Eric Roth)
Lincoln, a film by Steven Spielberg (2012) – screenplay
Fences, a film by Denzel Washington (2016) – screenplay (uncredited)

If You Liked Angels in America, may we recommend…

Bent, by Martin Sherman
The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me, by Larry Kramer
I Am My Own Wife, by Doug Wright
The Laramie Project, by Moisés Kaufman
Stop Kiss, by Diana Son
Cloud 9, by Caryl Churchill
The Boys in the Band, by Mart Crowley
Mother Courage and Her Children, by Bertolt Brecht
How to Survive a Plague, by David France
Eighty-Sixed, by David B. Feinberg