"Angels" in the Vuk

Amidst the Year of Social Change events, Allegheny’s Playshop Theatre will confront themes of prejudice and acceptance through their presentation of “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches,” written by Tony Kushner and directed by Dan Crozier, associate professor of theatre.

The production premieres tonight in the Gladys Mullenix Black Theatre in the Vukovich Center at 8 p.m., with additional 8 p.m. performances Friday and Saturday as well as a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday.

The play follows the lives of two couples, both facing troubles within their relationships. Louis Iroson’s relationship with his lover Prior Walter is strained after Walter reveals that he is HIV–positive.

Joe Pitt, a Mormon lawyer, also struggles in his relationship with his wife Harper, who is addicted to Valium. Set in 1985 in locations from ranging from Brooklyn to Antarctica, Kushner’s play received the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well at the Tony Award for Best Play.

“Angels in America” investigates the social stigma surrounding homosexuality as well as themes of community, acceptance and personal identity.

Meadville resident Roberta Levine, who plays the Rabbi, described the play as including a range of themes such as “ethics, morality, personal relationships and loyalty.”

Director Dan Crozier described the language in the play as “magnificent” and the plot as both “funny and heartbreaking.”

“‘Angels in America’  is not a show you can watch and not think about,” said actor Sam Moodey, ’11, who plays Louis Ironson.

Casting for the play occurred in December and rehearsals began Jan. 17.

Crozier stated that he chose to direct this particular play because it is “different and contemporary” and that it provides variety not only for the actors within the theatre department but the audience.

As the production team nears their final rehearsals, the actors finalize their lines. According to Moodey, by the end of rehearsals actors know their lines and blocking, or the “skeleton of the scene.”

This enables actors to instead focus their energy on finding their characters and make “solid decisions” about the identity of the character they are playing.

“During the last rehearsals my main job is making sure actors know what is going on and that actors do their transitions,” said stage manager Shannon Reilly, ’12.

“If we are missing one element, it will fall apart,” Reilly said.

Crozier added that the last few practices are about adding new elements that complete the show such as costumes, lighting, makeup and real props. He also stated that he takes notes while the actors run through the performance.

Michelle Chaho, ’13, plays Hannah Pitt and encouraged students to come see the show to support the theater department, adding that a cast member will be flying on stage.

“It is also education as well as entertainment,” Chaho said. “It will open your mind.”

Tickets to “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches” are $10 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens, Allegheny employees and non-Allegheny students and free for Allegheny students with their ID.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the Playshop Theatre box office at (814) 332–3414. The show is recommended for mature audiences only as it contains brief nudity and language.