Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America”

Angels in America is the iconic dramatization of the American AIDS crisis. It was written and performed by committed members of a theater community that had been decimated by the epidemic. The play first appeared in San Francisco in 1991 after a tumultuous pre-production phase that included the decision to split the seven hours of material into two plays. It would win the Pulitzer Prize and dominate the Tony Awards for two years running. Its star-studded 2003 HBO adaptation won ten Emmys, including awards for Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Mary-Louise Parker, and director Mike Nichols. Slate produced one of the best oral histories of 2016 to mark the 25th anniversary of one of the most important American productions of all time.

Angels in America: The Complete Oral History, 12.18.17

“Rent”: The Beautiful Struggle

Rent opened on Broadway in the spring of 1996, months after the tragic death of composer Jonathon Larson, and was an instant pop-culture smash, the likes of which weren’t seen again until Hamilton. The play fundamentally changed contemporary musical theater by organically incorporating pop music (including grunge) into the production. The inspiring “live for today” message, presented so accessibly, spoke to young people in a way that the stale Broadway classics often failed to. The show launched many careers (including Idina Menzel and Jesse L. Martin), and this oral history brings them back to when it all came together.

Rent: The Oral History, 5.1.16