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THE NORMAL HEART

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  • Dates: June 7 – 23, 2019
  • Times: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM / Sundays at 2 PM
  • Ticket Prices: $25 for VIP / $19 for General Seating (Student & Senior Discounts Available)
    VIP seats are in the first six or seven rows of the auditorium.
    Both the VIP and General seating sections are first-come, first-served.

A Portion of Every Ticket Will Benefit Aids Connecticut

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LITTLE THEATRE OF MANCHESTER TO PARTNER WITH AIDS CONNECTICUT FOR “THE NORMAL HEART”

We continue our 2019 season with the autobiographical Tony Award-winning play by Larry Kramer, THE NORMAL HEART, playing June 7 – 23, 2019.

As the play explores the New York City’s public and private indifference to the burgeoning AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, LTM will partner with AIDS CONNECTICUT to deliver this landmark drama. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to AIDS CONNECTICUT to support the goal of eliminating health disparities for people impacted by HIV/AIDS.

“AIDS CONNECTICUT is excited to play a role with LTM drawing attention to our work and making sure that we don’t ever forget what the AIDS crisis looked like in the 80s and early 90s,” said Keyvin Lewis, AIDS CONNECTICUT Prevention Program Manager. “With more than 50,000 new HIV diagnoses nationally, the fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over.”

THE NORMAL HEART tells one man’s lonely fight to awaken the world to the AIDS crisis. The story of a world in denial, the play, press note state, “unfolds like a real-life political thriller—as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians, and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence. A quarter-century after it was written, this outrageous, unflinching and totally unforgettable look at the politics of New York during the AIDS crisis remains one of the theater’s most powerful evenings ever.”

THE NORMAL HEART, one of the 100 Greatest Plays of the Twentieth Century by the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, debuted at New York’s Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles, London, and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival generated five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor, and Best Featured Actress.

“An extraordinary play! It is bracing and exciting to hear so much passion and intelligence. Kramer produces a crossfire of life-and-death energies that create a fierce and moving human drama.” –Jack Kroll, Newsweek

“Kramer’s landmark drama. . .timely as ever” –Robert Hurwitt, The San Francisco Chronicle

THE NORMAL HEART will run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays June 7 to June 23 at Cheney Hall in Manchester, Connecticut. Tickets are $19 – $25, with a portion of all ticket sales going to AIDS CONNECTICUT. Tickets are available for purchase at www.cheneyhall.org or by calling the LTM box office at (860) 647-9824. On May 29, 2019, at noon, LTM will host a Lunchtime Lecture for the show.

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CAST
Ned Weeks: Shawn Procuniar
Felix Turner: Mitch Hess
Bruce Niles: James DeMarco
Ben Weeks: Bill Emerson
Dr. Emma Bruckner: Lori Lee
Mickey Marcus: Tim Grant
Tommy Boatwright: Billy Winter
David, Hiram Keebler, Orderly: Daniel Patterson
Craig Donner, Grady, Examining, Orderly: Tony Palmieri
The production is directed by Michael Forgetta with Debi Freund as assistant director, and Dan Pear is the stage manager. Set and lighting design is by Dan Checovetes and sound design is by Ron Schallack.

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1.25 oz Birch
1.25 oz Reposado Tequila
Dash Orange Bitters
Splash of Fresh Lime
2 oz Blood Orange San Pellegrino

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“The Normal Heart”
Notes from the Dramaturg

It’s an ironic and yet inspiring fact that crises, disasters and other catastrophes that test the spirit often produce art, literature, and other creative endeavors that affirm our humanity, resiliency and need for connectedness.
Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart,” premiering off-Broadway in 1985, has had a remarkable journey over the past 35 years. Presented by Joseph Papp at New York’s Public Theater, the original production starred Brad Davis and later Joel Grey as Ned Weeks (a character based largely on Kramer himself). Other actors—and the list is eclectic—who have played this central role in various media include Martin Sheen, former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (in a student production at Cambridge), Richard Dreyfuss, Raul Esparza, Kevin Bacon, Joe Mantillo, and, most recently, Mark Ruffalo in the award-winning TV movie.
Although the play is a virtually autobiographical, historical account of a few years in New York in the early 1980s, it has not dated. Sadly, although great strides have been made in treatments for HIV (for those with access to medical resources), the prevalence of AIDS as a worldwide scourge continues.
Beyond its graphic depiction of the effects of HIV on a group of gay men (most of them drawn from real people, their families, and their caregivers), there is more to “The Normal Heart” than its docudrama tag would suggest. A carefully constructed play, Kramer’s drama skillfully evokes not only the time and place of the setting but also creates an interconnected web of relationships between and among friends, lovers, extended families, siblings, and allies. In this regard, “The Normal Heart,” speaks, eloquently and heartrendingly, to all of us, as much today as in 1985.
Ned Weeks/Kramer is a complex character, not difficult to admire but also not easy to love, as he struggles against enormous odds to educate both his friends and society in general about the plague descending on the metropolis and, eventually, the country and the world. He makes his choices both as a committed citizen who must speak out and an anguished gay man who sees his personal world at the abyss.
The remarkable Larry Kramer, writer and activist—still with us and still speaking out—was not a person, then or ever, to mince words. As Frank Rich wrote in 1984 in his review of the original production: “The blood that’s coursing through “The Normal Heart” is boiling hot. There can be little doubt that it is the most outspoken play around.”
Kramer was also hugely influential off-stage, as it were, as an activist. He founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis as well as ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), two of the most far-reaching social service and advocacy organizations of the late 20th century. And in addition to “The Normal Heart,” his literary output has been prolific and varied, including the award-winning screenplay for the film “Women in Love.”
It is “The Normal Heart,” however, for which Kramer will probably be best remembered.
Note these words in a quote from “September 1, 1939,” the W.H. Auden poem written at the outbreak of World War II that Kramer asked to be included in all program notes for the play. Auden writes, “What mad Nijinsky wrote /About Diaghilev/Is true of the normal heart…/We must love one another or die.”

David Garnes

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