I can't believe its been 20 years since Tony Kushner's Angels in America first premiered. Remember (or maybe you don't, youthful blog reader) when Ronald Reagan was the worst thing that ever happened to us?
For the uninitiated, Angels, which was born at San Francisco's Eureka Theater in 1991, evokes an America in which we are poised on the precipice of apocalyptic doom. Kushner's vision of a morally bankrupt America is one in which the climate of the Reagan years is both the natural legacy of Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn as well as the virulent seed of the modern-day plague -- AIDS and its metaphors.
Years back, Kushner told a Berkeley crowd (in an absurdly modest statement), that he attributed some of the success of Angels in America to timing. He noted that the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play arrived on Broadway at the beginning of "Clinton's 15 minutes. It's a Reagan-hating play and that's one of the things I like about it," he said.
So, when Brad Rosenstein interviewed Kushner at the Herbst theater last weekend, I was hoping to hear what Kushner thought of Angels in Obama's 15 minutes. How does Kushner think his play fares in the yet more cataclysmic, even more morally bankrupt 2010?
But as the curator of the Museum of Performance & Design, Rosensten had other matters at hand. His interview marked the opening of the museum's exhibit, More Life! "Angels in America" at Twenty. And so, he and Kushner talked stage design -- how did different performances manage the angel wing mechanics, make a book burst into flames, a feather fall straight down.