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, Doug Joseph as Mickey Marcus, Johnny Robison as Craig Donner and Grady, Susan Gellman as Dr. Emma Brookner, and James Harper as Hiram Keebler.
  To mark this anniversary Equitas Health will sponsor talk-backs after the March 16 and 17 performances. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation will present a reception and talk on the advances in pharmaceutical treatments since AZT between the March 19 matinee and evening performances.