The NORMAL HEART was an emotional roller coaster so strap in. It has wonderful character development and continuity in the storyline. It offers uncomfortable truth to the chosen ignorance of not only the government and city of New York in the early eighties on the Aids epidemic, but the people of New York both gay and straight alike. The Normal Heart highlighted many complicated relationships that still exist today: Society and the government, Intimate relationships between 2 men as compared to frolicking around loveless, being the gay brother to a straight family and overcoming the alienation within your own family dynamic, fighting within the gay community of activists to be taken seriously and unifying towards a common goal. There is more to this story than just how AIDS effected the gay community in the late 70's/early 80's. This play offers any group of people that have been oppression or ignored because of who they are and what they stood for. There were so many more life lessons to be had from the exposure of The Normal Heart. Please don't let me ruin the ending for you...it's a doozie!
In conclusion, I implore all those who are effected by AIDS either personally or have a friend or family member that is to come support this local theater's story.
- Ken Sanfilippo
The Normal Heart was heartbreaking, intense, and incredibly moving! Honestly, I can't say enough good things about this show. NYC people, it's not too far from the Lindenhurst LIRR station. Don't miss this one
- Mary Shannon Heuman
I was privileged to be in the audience at the Long Island premiere of "THe Normal Heart" by Larry Kramer. (soon to be a major HBO event starring Mark Ruffalo & Julia Roberts) After having recovered my composure at the gut wrenchingly evocative ending, I walked out the small intimate theater with a profound sense of awe and knew that I had just witnessed Long Island theater at it's very finest.
If you are not familiar with the title, it is playwright Larry Kramers semi autobiographical glimpse into the AIDS crisis in it's early stages and the burgeoning devastation wrecked upon a circle of friends and society in general circa 1981 through 1985. This modern day plague here to fore without a name catapults writer Ned Weeks and Dr. Emma Brookner into a seemingly futile search for acknowledgement, answers, publicity, funding for medical research, and simple human decency for the ever increasing victims of this mysterious fatal virus. Ned and a small circle of friends form a foundation which became the Gay Mens Health Crisis center and their quest for a treatment, a cure, or for even a voice of compassion and help from the public and seemingly callous and uncaring New York City political machine leaves the audience with a sense of outrage, shock and a deep pervading sense of sadness at the injustice of a system that for years just kept sweeping this epidemic under the rug.
The actors portrayals are stunning and unforgettable. Franklyn Butler as intense and haunted 'Ned Weeks' is a burning force of nature and truly mesmerizing to watch. Robert Burney as his lover Felix is a study in eloquence and human grace, Jesse Maldonado as Dr. Emma Brookner is graceful and deeply effective at bringing to life the deep sadness in the heart of a dedicated physician grappling with her sheer helplessness in the face of such relentless devastation, and Michael Carlin, a Long Island theater veteran- gives the performance of a lifetime in his gut wrenching soliloquy on the futility of hope as a gay man in this lifetime. Mike McKasty as GMAC's acting president Bruce Niles has his own segment that brings into vivid detail the soul sucking experience of the death of a loved one en route to seeing his mother for the last time and the cruelty imposed upon them by members of society in uniform who are supposed to protect and serve.Kevin Todd Hansen infuses the small part of Tommy Boatwright- a self proclaimed "Gay Southern Bitch" with heartwarming tenderness and humor. The rest of the cast provides the strong glue that keeps the story moving from year to year and Christopher Rosselli's direction is subtle and brilliantly executed, he has brought out the strengths of his cast and his set-simple, stark and totally effective.