Angels in America | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Angels in America


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The Hypocrites' production of Millennium Approaches, the first play in Tony Kushner's "Angels in America" diptych, was largely screechy and overacted, but certain key scenes, particularly those between Kurt Ehrmann's savage Roy Cohn and J.B. Waterman's tortured, closeted Mormon Joe Pitt, showed how much potential for dramatic truth lay beneath the overplayed exterior. In this production of the second half of the epic, Perestroika, director Sean Graney has unleashed that potential, offering three and a half hours of engrossing, thought-provoking, heartbreaking theater. Kushner's fantastical, theurgic parable of a desperate scramble for moral agency in the midst of a plague is far from perfect, Graney's and Jim Moore's cluttered set never creates any real sense of place, and the company hasn't found a way to convey the play's mystery and magic. But the sheer veracity of the acting renders these faults nearly invisible, revealing the rage, cruelty, wit, pathos, and staggering wisdom of Kushner's masterpiece. Perestroika plays through 5/7: Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 2:30 PM, Thu 4/20 and 5/4, 7:30 PM, Fri 4/14 and 4/28, 7:30 PM. Millennium Approaches runs through 5/6: Sat 2:30 PM, Thu 4/13 and 4/27, 7:30 PM, Fri 4/21 and 5/5, 7:30 PM. Bailiwick Repertory, Bailiwick Arts Center, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-883-1090, $11-$25, $40 for both parts.

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