Victory Gardens Theater hosts writer Dan Kois (Slate, New York Times Magazine) for special discussion and signing of his book The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America. Kois will be joined on stage by Chicago actors and writers for a reading of excerpts from the book. This one-night-only event will be held on Monday, October 1 at 7:00pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.
Join author Dan Kois and hear excerpts from The World Only Spins Forward read by Chicago actors and writers, many of whom have performed Angels in America around the country. Books will be available for purchase and a book signing will follow the event. This is a FREE event but a reservation is required as space is limited. To reserve tickets call (773) 871-3000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expanded from a popular Slate cover story and built from nearly 250 interviews, The World Only Spins Forward is both a rollicking theater saga and an uplifting testament to one of the great works of American art of the past century, from its gritty San Francisco premiere to its starry, much-anticipated Broadway revival in 2018. The oral history of Angels in America, as told by the artists who created it and the audiences forever changed by it, is a moving account of the AIDS era, essential queer history, and an exuberant backstage tale.
Actors include Steppenwolf ensemble member K. Todd Freeman (Belize), who performed with Center Theatre Group the first time Angels in America was presented as a full piece; Barbara Robertson (Hannah Pitt) and Philip E. Johnson (Joe Pitt), who both performed under Director Michael Mayer in the First National Tour which originated in Chicago; as well as Natasha Lowe (Harper Pitt), Jeff Christian (Joe Pitt) and Elizabeth Laidlaw (The Angel), from David Cromer's 1998 Journeymen Theater production. Also appearing will be local Chicago writers Ian Owens and Keith Phipps.
“Angels in America has been seminal both in my personal and artistic life, and it remains one of the most searing theatrical masterpieces of all time,” comments Victory Gardens Artistic Director Chay Yew. “Tony gave voice to silenced gay Americans who struggled to stay alive during the AIDS epidemic while vilified by our government and society. In his epic play, he brought to life the complex humanity, history and politics that still speak to us today. We are excited to welcome Dan and our Chicago artists to share this beautiful account of how Angels in America came to life and its lasting impact on global culture, especially as we host them during the run of Paula Vogel's Indecent.”
Author Dan Kois remarks, “Chicago has been the home to two seminal productions of Angels, both crucial to the play's history and our understanding of how it can be produced: the national tour, which premiered in 1994 at the Royal George in Chicago, cast with both Chicago and New York actors, before heading out across the country; and David Cromer's 1998 Journeymen production, a black-box marvel that rewrote the book on how intimately this epic work can be performed. I'm really excited to bring The World Only Spins Forward to Victory Gardens in a lively, chaotic staged reading that will reunite members of the casts of both those productions.”
When Tony Kushner’s Angels in America hit Broadway in 1993, it won the Pulitzer Prize, swept the Tonys, launched a score of major careers, and changed the way gay lives were represented in popular culture. Mike Nichols's 2003 HBO adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, and Mary-Louise Parker was itself a tour de force, winning Golden Globes and eleven Emmys, and introducing the play to an even wider public. This generation-defining classic continues to shock, move, and inspire viewers worldwide.
Now, on the 25th anniversary of that Broadway premiere, Isaac Butler and Dan Kois offer the definitive account of Angels in America in the most fitting way possible: through oral history, the vibrant conversation and debate of actors (including Streep, Parker, Nathan Lane, and Jeffrey Wright), directors, producers, crew, and Kushner himself. Their intimate storytelling reveals the on- and offstage turmoil of the play's birth--a hard-won miracle beset by artistic roadblocks, technical disasters, and disputes both legal and creative. And historians and critics help to situate the play in the arc of American culture, from the staunch activism of the AIDS crisis through civil rights triumphs to our current era, whose politics are a dark echo of the Reagan '80s.
Victory Gardens Theater will be accepting donations in support of its education department, partnerships with Chicago Public Schools, and scholarship student matinee series that grants CPS students the opportunity to see Victory Gardens productions at no cost.
About Dan Kois
Dan Kois is an editor and writer for Slate's culture section and a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine. He's the former culture editor at Slate, where he launched the Slate Book Review. He previously co-hosted the podcast Mom and Dad Are Fighting and is a frequent guest on Slate's Culture Gabfest. His previous book was Facing Future, about the Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, for Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series, and his next book is How to Be a Family, a memoir of parenting around the world.
About Victory Gardens Theater
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Managing Director Erica Daniels, Victory Gardens is dedicated to artistic excellence while creating a vital, contemporary American Theater that is accessible and relevant to all people through productions of challenging new plays and musicals. Victory Gardens Theater is committed to the development, production and support of new plays that has been the mission of the theater since its founding, set forth by Dennis Začek, Marcelle McVay, and the original founders of Victory Gardens Theater.
Victory Gardens Theater is a leader in developing and producing new theater work and cultivating an inclusive Chicago theater community. Victory Gardens’ core strengths are nurturing and producing dynamic and inspiring new plays, reflecting the diversity of our city’s and nation’s culture through engaging diverse communities, and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, bringing art and culture to our city’s active student population.
Since its founding in 1974, the company has produced more world premieres than any other Chicago theater, a commitment recognized nationally when Victory Gardens received the 2001 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater includes the Začek-McVay Theater, a state-of-the-art 259-seat mainstage and the 109-seat studio theater on the second floor, named the Richard Christiansen Theater.
Victory Gardens Ensemble Playwrights include Luis Alfaro, Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Ike Holter, Samuel D. Hunter, Naomi Iizuka, Tanya Saracho and Laura Schellhardt. Each playwright has a seven-year residency at Victory Gardens Theater.
Major Season Support: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, REAM Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, Wallace Foundation.
Victory Gardens Theater receives major funding from Crown Family Philanthropies, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council Agency, Polk Bros. Foundation, Helen Zell.
Major funders also include Allstate, Alphawood Foundation, Conant Family Foundation, Edgerton Foundation, Exelon, Field Foundation of Illinois, The REAM Foundation, The Harvey L Miller Supporting Foundation, David Rockefeller Fund, Time Warner Foundation, Inc.
Additional funding this season Charles H. and Bertha L. Boothroyd Foundation, Capital Group Private Client Services, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, ComEd, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Golden Country Oriental Foods, Goldman Sachs, John R. Halligan Foundation, ITW, Mayer Brown LLP, The McVay Foundation, Metropolitan Capital Bank and Trust, National Endowment for the Arts, Negaunee Foundation, Origin Ventures, Pauls Foundation, PNC Financial Services Group, Prince Charitable Trusts, Charles and M.R. Shapiro Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Wrightwood Neighbors Foundation.
In-kind support is provided by Italian Village Restaurants, Southwest Airlines, Roy’s Furniture, Suite Home Chicago, Taco Joint, and Whole Foods Market.
Capital improvement support is provided by the Performing Arts Venue Fund at the League of Chicago Theaters, with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and Capacity Building support by Compass-Chicago.
For more information about Victory Gardens, visit www.victorygardens.org. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/victorygardens, Twitter @VictoryGardens and Instagram at instagram.com/victorygardenstheater/.
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