Photos by Gian Nicdao
Balls. They were called balls.” It’s an odd thing to hear without context, especially given where we were at that moment: inside a glass house, surrounded by well-to-do people in pearls and suits.
The word — which is both a part of the body, and an aspect of drag culture history — sure feels like something that can crack the glass, both in the house and society. And it was fitting — for 25 years ago, there was a play that did the exact same thing: shatter the glass ceiling of Broadway, American theater, and all those who’ve seen it for all the years to come. Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, which opened on Broadway in 1993, was exactly that.
Set in 1980s New York during the Reagan era’s AIDS crisis, Angels is a two-part epic tackling topics ranging from religion to injustice through the eyes of people living with (or those closely living with people who have) AIDS. The play, which won 10 Tony Awards and holds the Broadway record for the most Tony nominations, also won a Pulitzer. Since then, Angels in America has enjoyed reincarnations over the years: it was turned into an HBO mini-series back in 2003 starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, and Emma Thompson, and it recently enjoyed an award-winning revival on the West End and Broadway stage, with a cast led by Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield.
This March, Angels in America makes its way back to Manila after its 1995 staging, directed with original staging director Bobby Garcia and performed by an exceptional new cast. Young STAR sat down with actors Topper Fabregas, Markki Stroem, and Nel Gomez who play Prior Walter, Joe Pitt, and Louis Ironson, respectively, as they prepare for this landmark play.