Short North Stage commemorates the 30th Anniversary of the FDA approval of AZT, the first drug that offered hope in the war against HIV-AIDS, with a staged reading of The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer. This searing drama of the early days of the epidemic compellingly takes us back to the horror and helplessness felt by the LGBT community in the early 1980s as they struggled to deal with this crisis and get needed attention from the public and government.
  The Normal Heart chronicles a major era in gay history—a time that many today are too young to remember.
  “Your eyes are pretty much guaranteed to start stinging before the first act is over,” wrote reviewer Ben Brantley in the New York Times, “and by the play’s end even people who think they have no patience for polemical theater may find their resistance has melted into tears. No, make that sobs.”
  In this time of uncertainty over health care, The Normal Heart reminds us not only of how far we’ve come, but of the danger of inaction.
  The cast for this reading includes: Todd Covert as Ned Weeks, John Stefano as Ben Weeks, Rob Philpott as Felix Turner, Robert Stimmel as Bruce Niles, Nick Hardin as Tommy Boatwright, Victor Little as Mickey Marcus, Johnny Robison as Craig Donner and Grady, Susan Gellman as Dr. Emma Brookner, and James Harper as Hiram Keebler.
  We are pleased to partner for this event with two leading organizations focused on AIDS prevention and support. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is the largest provider of HIV-AIDS medical care in the United States, will sponsor a free wine and food reception at 5 pm between the March 19 matinee and evening performances. During that reception their pharmacist, Dr. Kate Adams, a board-certified HIV specialist pharmacist, will talk on the evolution of anti-retroviral medications and future prospects..Equitas Health one of the nation’s largest HIV/lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) healthcare organizations, will provide a talk-back by their specialist Mimi Rivard after the March 17 performance, updating patrons on the history, progress and challenges that HIV-AIDS still poses.
  After the Thursday, March 16 performance the director and cast will provide a talkback on dramaturgical aspects of this powerful work.