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The Heaven Over New York: <em>Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches</em> and <em>Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika,</em> reviewed.

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The Heaven Over New York: Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches and Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika, reviewed.

Chris Klimek

 Mitchell Hébert and Jon Hudson Odom in  Perestroika.  (Danisha Crosby)

Mitchell Hébert and Jon Hudson Odom in Perestroika. (Danisha Crosby)

Lemme tell ya, people: It was much easier to figure out why Tony Kusher's most recent play is lousy than it was to try to figure out why Angels in America, the epic masterpiece that shall be his legacy, is so good. You have countless other, more reputable sources on that, of course. I was just writing about the show's latest and largest local revival, the product of a Marvel Team-Up between Olney Theatre Center and Round House Theatre.

While researching this review I discovered that Mike Nichols' 2003 HBO miniseries of Angels in America earned four-stars-out-of-four for its artistic merit and four-for-four for its depiction of the nursing profession on the website The Truth About Nursing.

FURTHER READING: Here's my review of the 2011 revival of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, which came to Arena Stage four years ago. It was the first major play to address the AIDS crisis, and it was written from inside the trenches with shells exploding all around. Which is at least one of the reasons it hasn't had (in my opinion) the afterlife the more contemplative and mythic Angels, written several years afterward, has had. (Twelve years elapsed between Angels' premiere and its emergence as an HBO miniseries; for The Normal Heart to go from the stage to HBO took 29 years.)

Once again, Isaac Butler and Dan Kois' mighty oral history of Angels in America—soon to be expanded to book-length!—is here, and highly recommended.