Angels in America at the British National Theatre

Premiere, Revival and Transatlantic Legacy, 1993–2018


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About the Book

Angels in America was one of the most significant pieces of American theatre in the 20th Century. Much has been written on Tony Kushner’s epic drama. However, the National Theatre of Great Britain’s productions of the show are relatively under-discussed. Not only was the National Theatre responsible for helping to originate the play in the early 1990s, but it helped revitalize interest in 2018 with Marianne Elliott’s reimagined version starring Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane.
This book considers the role of the National in the play’s history, and how Elliott’s production reframed the play 25 years after the original; it chronicles the tumultuous first production and the play’s successes in London and New York. The book also looks at the key features of the play: its representation of AIDS, its status as an iconic gay play and its searing political commentary. Concluding with an in-depth analysis of Marianne Elliott’s reimagining of the play, this book is an up-to-date history of Angels in America and a reflection on its continued importance.

About the Author(s)

Emily Garside spent a number of years as an academic and lecturer, beginning with her PhD on theatrical responses to the AIDS crisis, and the evolution of LGBTQ theatre. She specializes in Queer Culture Writing. As a journalist, she is a regular contributor for The Queer Review and has written for American Theatre, Slate, BBC and The Stage. She lives in the United Kingdom.

Bibliographic Details

Emily Garside
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 219
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7547-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4748-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
1. “Hello and Good Morning”: National Theatre Original Production 9
2. “Trouble with the Machinery”: Staging Angels 18
3. Staging AIDS in Angels: Landscape of AIDS Theater 25
4. The Angel and the Political Moment 38
5. Angels, AIDS and Theater in Britain 44
6. Angels Production History, 1994–2017 49
7. Flying Angels Back to the National 65
8. Marianne Elliott: Career Highlights and Style 70
9. “Imagination Can’t Create Anything New, Can It?” On Staging Angels 75
10. Staging AIDS 2017 88
11. NT Live 103
12. Flying Angels Back to New York: Broadway Transfer 2018 110
13. Making the Characters Contemporary 125
14. “Beyond Nelly”: Staging Gay Men in 2017 133
15. Political Theatrical Angels 153
Epilogue: “We Will Be Citizens”: Angels and Representation 170
Chapter Notes 187
References 199
Index 207