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Decades Later, The Story Of ‘Angels In America’ Lives On

Playwright Tony Kushner subtitled his seminal work a “gay fantasia on national themes.” “Angels in America” is a two-part, seven-hour play that examines the politics and culture of 1980s America through the stories of eight characters living at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. From its debut in a small San Francisco theater in 1991 to its return to Broadway this year, the play has not only earned a Pulitzer Prize and several Tony awards, but it has also struck a chord with actors, activists and writers around the world.

"For many people, for me for example, ['Angels in America'] feels like the defining work of drama for the 1980s and 1990s ... Angels stormed on to the scene and completely changed the economics of what people thought was possible on Broadway."- Dan Kois

The new book “The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America” (Bloomsbury/2018) tells the story of the show’s creation and legacy through the voices of more than 200 people involved with the production over time, including actors, directors, producers, crew and playwright Tony Kushner himself. Host Frank Stasio talks with the book’s co-author Dan Kois, editor and writer for Slate, about collecting interviews from behind the curtain. Kois will lead a staged reading of sections of the book at North Carolina State University’s Hunt Library in Raleigh on Tuesday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.

 

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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