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Robert Shackleton Playhouse
405 Lafayette Street
Cape May, NJ 08204

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Cape May, NJ 08204
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The Normal Heart - reading

The Normal Heart - reading
The Normal Heart is a powerful, stirring drama based on the harrowing true story of the beginning of the AIDS crisis in New York City, and the gay men who fought with an entire political system to take their plight seriously. Based on playwright Larry Kramer’s own experiences founding the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York in the 1980s, The Normal Heart follows Ned Weeks, a reluctant leader but furious activist, as he campaigns for awareness, and tends to his own friends and lovers who are dying all around him. A strong indictment against ignorance, and a heartfelt story of love and compassion, The Normal Heart is a passionate and searing portrayal of a population at war, and a plague that nips at its heels every step of the way.

In order to celebrate LGBTQ+ month in June, Cape May Stage and East Lynne Theater Company are proud to announce they are joining forces with GABLES to present two powerful play readings about the founding of two integral gay rights organizations.  

Up first on Monday June 10th at 8:00 PM at Cape May Stage’s Robert Shackleton Playhouse is The Normal Heart. The Normal Heart is a powerful, stirring drama based on the harrowing true story of the beginning of the AIDS crisis in New York City, and the gay men who fought with an entire political system to take their plight seriously. Based on playwright Larry Kramer’s own experiences founding the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York in the 1980s, The Normal Heart follows Ned Weeks, a reluctant leader but furious activist, as he campaigns for awareness, and tends to his own friends and lovers who are dying all around him. A strong indictment against ignorance, and a heartfelt story of love and compassion, The Normal Heart is a passionate and searing portrayal of a population at war, and a plague that nips at its heels every step of the way.

Then, on Monday June 24th at 8:00 PM at East Lynne Theater Company’s First Presbyterian Church, join us for The Temperamentals. Set in the early 1950s, The Temperamentals is the true story of the founding of The Mattachine Society, one of the earliest gay activism groups in the United States. Created by Communist and social radical Harry Hay and famed fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, the underground organization came together secretly, building its membership through various forms of covert communication during a time when nearly all homosexuals were closeted. The play explores the trials of the society’s founding fathers as they risked their lives and livelihoods to gain equality. More than just a history play, the show is also a love story, detailing the romance of odd couple Hay and Gernreich as their passion for their cause and each other grew.

Following each reading will be a short talk-back with the cast and creative team in order to foster a discussion about the themes in the plays. Admission to both readings is donation based. 50% of collected donations will be shared between Cape May Stage & East Lynne Theater Company, while the other 50% will be donated to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis to support their on-going work. Donations can be made in advance by clicking on "Buy Tickets" or can be made at the door on the night of the reading.



Cast Bios:

Larry Kramer (playwright)  is an American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for Columbia Pictures, which led him to London where he worked with United Artists. There he wrote the screenplay for the 1969 film Women in Love (1969) and earned an Academy Award nomination for his work. Kramer witnessed the spread of the disease later known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) among his friends in 1980. He co-founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), which has become the world's largest private organization assisting people living with AIDS. Kramer grew frustrated with bureaucratic paralysis and the apathy of gay men to the AIDS crisis, and wished to engage in further action than the social services GMHC provided. He expressed his frustration by writing a play titled The Normal Heart, produced at The Public Theater in New York City in 1985. His political activism continued with the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in 1987, an influential direct action protest organization with the aim of gaining more public action to fight the AIDS crisis. ACT UP has been widely credited with changing public health policy and the perception of people living with AIDS (PWAs), and with raising awareness of HIV and AIDS-related diseases. Kramer has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his play The Destiny of Me (1992), and he is a two-time recipient of the Obie Award.



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