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Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches

 Darlene Van Alstyne and Danica Jensen in Angels in America.
Photo: Bob Tucker/Focalpoint 

by Steve Desroches

Over 30 years since Angels in America was first performed, the play’s themes still resonate, not just for its historical depiction of AIDS in America during the conservative and homophobic Reagan administration, but for how it reflects the country now since Trump has largely taken control of the Republican Party turning the questions proposed in the play into what now feels like prophecy. And the production running currently at the Provincetown Theater is a breathtaking reimagination of the play by Tony Kushner with top-notch performances by the ensemble under the direction of David Drake presenting to a community deeply traumatized by both AIDS and the Reagan administration and the demons it let loose. It’s a chance to place that past into the context of today as well process, grieve, and as the angel proclaims, prepare for the great work ahead.

To be candid, upon announcement that Angels in America was going to be the May offering at the theater there was some skepticism and weariness expressed around town. It is an ambitious undertaking after all and to some in this community it’s a play seen many times over the years, and a story that many lived in one way or the other in real life. Perhaps the story is dated? But this production proves that Angels in America is indeed a classic work of theater, as its message and themes explored are more relevant today than ever, despite being set in 1985 and largely taking place in New York City. As individuals, each actor provides a stellar performance. And as a company they elevate each other. Tender, funny, moving; each actor nails it. Joe MacDougall completely embodies the character of Roy Cohn, with every slither and snarl of the real one, who lived not far from the theater in which his disgusting legacy is explored. Todd Flaherty as Prior Walter and Karl Gregory as Louis Aronson shine in roles they are perfectly cast in as is the same with Danica Jensen and Nick Wilson as Harper and Joe Pitt, with Jensen keeping the emotionally disturbed character appropriately measured and Wilson exuding a vulnerability that breaks your heart. Sean Flyr, Devon Kendall-Jacobs, Jeanine O’Rourke, Darlene Van Alstyne all deliver solid and resounding performances and Laura Scribner, who is always a delight on stage, marvels as she tackles the three roles of the rabbi, Hannah Pitt, and Ethel Rosenberg.

Performed in three roughly one-hour acts with two intermissions, the performance breezes by as your attention never wanes as again the cast and the superb direction by Drake are all so engaging. Make a point to see Angels in America as it is both testament to the brilliance of Kushner, who is a familiar face in Provincetown, and that the Provincetown Theater continues to grow into being a dynamic force in New England’s theatrical landscape.

Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches is at the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street, Thursday through Saturday at  7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. though May 26. Tickets ($55) are available at the box office and online at For more information call 508.487.7487.

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Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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