Carnegie Mellon University

"Angels in America"

11-09-2010

Three School of Drama Alumni Help Revive Epic Play

Angels in America Quinto Porter"We have reached a verdict, your honor. This man's heart is deficient. He loves, but his love is worth nothing." — Prior Walters, a character in the Tony Award winning play "Angels in America."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected the first official documentation of AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) on June 5, 1981. Since then significant works of art have challenged people to understand this crippling pandemic. One of the most notable works is Tony Kushner's play "Angels in America."

The play is set during the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s, and combines real and fictional characters with naturalism and illusion to present American despair and hope during that turbulent time. New York City's Signature Theater Company revived the production to coincide with both the play and the theater's twentieth anniversary.

The off-Broadway revival of Angels in America opened Oct. 28 and stars three Pittsburgh natives and Carnegie Mellon's School of Drama alumni Zachary Quinto (A'99), Chris Borle (A'95) and Billy Porter (A'91). The play consists of two parts: "Millennium Approaches" and "Perestroika." The parts are being presented as separate shows and already have a six-week extension due to their popularity.

Quinto plays the role of Louis Ironson, who has to deal with the guilt of leaving his AIDS-stricken boyfriend. Quinto has also played Sylar on the hit NBC show "Heroes" and Mr. Spock in the movie "Star Trek." He also founded the production company Before the Door Pictures with CMU alumni Neal Dodson (A'00) and Corey Moosa (A'00).

Borle plays the role of Ironson's AIDS-stricken boyfriend, Prior Walter. Borle has had other successes on stage, most notably with "Legally Blonde: The Musical." In 2007, he earned a Tony nomination for his performance as Emmett Forrest in the Broadway musical.

Porter plays Prior's ex-boyfriend and best friend Belize. Porter's Broadway credits include "Grease!," "Miss Saigon" and "Dreamgirls." He also directed the groundbreaking musical "Being Alive" in 2007. In addition to his accomplishments in theater, Porter has released two albums, a self-titled debut in 1997 and "At the Corner of Broadway + Soul" in 2005.

In 2003, Patrick Wilson (A'95) gained international success starring as Joe Pitt in the HBO mini series of "Angels in America."

Zachary Quinto as Louis Ironson and Billy Porter as Belize in Signature Theatre Company's production of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 1: Millennium Approaches." The production is directed by Michael Greif. "Angels in America" is playing at The Peter Norton Space, 555 West 42nd Street, New York. Photo copyright Joan Marcus.

Eric Sloss