2 Girls, 1 Podcast episode #4: ‘Angels’ in review, politicians, celebs, bisexual penguins and the holidaze

This week’s episode of ranting by Lyska and Alley features gay penguins, male model Andrej Pejic in a bra, Rick Perry’s Brokeback ad, sci fri smackdown and more (including more making fun of Alley). Plus, a special anniversary message to my favorite aunt and uncle. You made it 30 years. […]

Portland Playhouse’s ‘Angels in America: Millennium Approaches’ – a live review

Wade McCollum as Prior Walter (L) with Noah Jordan as Louis Ironson in the Portland Playhouse's 'Angels in America.' Photo by Owen Carey.

Tony Kushner’s epic play about the AIDS crisis in the 80s, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, is all about juxtapositions, and the Portland Playhouse does this expertly. We wonder if the tropes presented in this production remain relevant and Director Brian Weaver’s 8 person cast proves that it is. You can hear what Weaver and principal actor Wade McCollum have to say on the continued relevancy of the Angels, as well as AIDS in the 21st century, in an interview from last week.

On one side is the closeted and vicious Ray Cohn, played by Ebbe Roe Smith, lawyer for all the big names on the right, and on the other, Prior Walter (McCollum), an eloquent gay man whose partner, Louis (Noah Jordan), leaves him. Both are Cohn and Walter are dying of AIDS. But though Cohn is a classic villain and Walter a relatable (if not wholly classic) hero, both script and performances provide the nuance so imperative in this story. Ultimately, Cohn seems pitiable and Walter powerful.

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Interview with ‘Angels in America’ Director Brian Weaver and Actor Wade McCollum

As I watched some early rehearsals of the Portland Playhouse’s upcoming production of Angels in America: Part 1, Millennium Approaches, the excitement was palpable. An epic play, Angels seems to be one of the most sought after for actors and directors alike to be a part of. The Playhouse was especially excited to be able to put it on this year, which is its 20th anniversary. I found myself easily swept up in the excitement, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting opening ever since.

The Portland Playhouse cast of 'Angels in America.' Photo by Laura Domela

If your not familiar with Tony Kushner’s 6 hour play, it follows the interwoven lives of several individuals in and around New York, most of whom are gay, during the early days of the AIDS crisis. Though the Playhouse is only putting on Part 1 (for now) there is plenty of drama to fill the 3 hours. The Pulitzer Prize winning script delves into the broader themes of the AIDS crisis, politics, religion, hypocrisy and more through the eyes of a WASPy gay man afflicted with the disease, Prior Walter, and his Jewish partner, Louis Ironson. Ironson struggles with this reality and eventually leaves Walter for an affair with a closeted Mormon, Joe Pitt. The other principal character is Ray Cohn, a deeply closeted gay man, who is also dying of AIDS, even as he actively espouses anti-gay and McCarthyist Regan-era politics, and serves as the play’s biggest villain. Through it all an angel watches over, and other characters, alive and dead, weave in and out of surreal scenes, memories, hallucinations.

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