The Normal Heart

By Larry Kramer

Cast

Click names to read bios if available

NED - Zack Elzey
FELIX - Ian Webb
EMMA - Alexis Boss / Annadee Morgan
BRUCE - John Valdez
BEN - Zech Combs
MICKEY - Geoff Means
TOMMY - Jordan Kramer
CRAIG/GRADY - Riki Squire
DAVID/HIRAM - Bailey King

Director's Note

I was born in 1988, 3 years after President Reagan first publicly referenced by name the devastating and rapidly spreading disease known as HIV/AIDS in 1985. This acknowledgement came 4 years after the first recorded case appeared in New York City in 1981. By the time he decided he couldn’t turn a blind eye and feign ignorance any longer, it had already killed over 13,000 people, primarily gay men. 

It was 2018 when I read Perfect Arrangement by Topher Payne when I first learned about the Red Scare’s lesser-known concurrent event during the age of McCarthyism, the Lavender Scare. In 1953, President Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450 which lead to over 5,000 gay men and women being fired from their jobs, many of them being outed publicly in the process. The Red Scare, by comparison, only led to a couple hundred employees being fired. I’ll let you guess which one I learned about in high school.

As a gay man having grown up so unaware and so uninformed about the vastness of queer history, this production of The Normal Heart is deeply personal to me. To see these pioneers in the past fighting so hard for attention and acceptance while sitting here in the present knowing that I was never taught any of it elicits an emotion I can’t even contextualize into words. Queer people throughout history have been erased in the minds and hearts of everyone other than those who actively seek out their stories. For many of you, this production may be the first introduction into the real heart of the AIDS epidemic, because these things were never taught to, never discussed with, never explained to you either. These characters are living, breathing, heroic, and flawed people all facing what is quite literally a life or death situation–one that nearly wiped out an entire pioneering generation of gay men. Yet it’s all at risk of fading out of mainstream memory unless we actively remember.

 

As younger gay men come of age in a world that becomes more and more accepting of who we are, we must work and fight to ensure that these stories are not overlooked or buried, but honored and recognized as the stories of the formative heroes that, through their actions and bravery, made our lives better than they might have been. And we must resolve ourselves in continuing to fight for the others in our LGBTQIA+ community who don’t enjoy the same level of acceptance as us.

The Normal Heart marks the 15th queer play I’ve directed, and the 3rd about AIDS specifically. Even now, I’m still learning more and more of the history that I would have already known if any of it had happened to straight people. In an emotional speech in act two, Ned Weeks, a stand-in for Larry Kramer within his own play, asks “Why don’t they teach any of that in schools?” in reference to his own lack of access to basic queer history in his formative years. After the past few months of directing this production nearly 40 years after that plea was written, I find myself asking the same question.

Kacey Spadafora

Creative Team

Click names to read bios if available

DIRECTOR  - Kacey Spadafora

STAGE MANAGER - Patch Olsen

ASST. DIRECTOR / LIGHTING DESIGNER - Adam Gowers

VOCAL DIRECTOR - Kiley Todd Drake

SOUND DESIGNER / INTIMACY DIRECTOR - Liz Whittaker

SET DESIGN/COSTUME COORDINATOR - Kacey Spadafora

PROPS DESIGN - MJ Smith & Taylor Jack Nelson

DRAMATURG - Taylor Jack Nelson

DIRECTOR OF SCENIC & PROPS FOR AOTC - Janice Chan

DIRECTOR OF WARDROBE FOR AOTC - Denae Devey Bengtzen

PRODUCTION MANAGER FOR AOTC - JD Ramey

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Company Members

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