More than 30 years after Tony Kushner wrote Angels in America, its themes – immigration, climate change, the AIDS epidemic and sexual identity – are as relevant as ever today, actor Andrew Garfield told Variety. Garfield plays the lead role of Prior in the show’s current Broadway run.
“Every week there’s going to be people coming into the theater with new rage,” Garfield said. “There’s no humanity in politics right now, especially on the right. It’s evident we’re in trouble. There need to be new laws. There needs to be a new regime created. There’s this extremism on all sides right now, and I think what Tony gives us at the end of this play is a balanced vision of a future that’s led by deep listening, compassion, community, empathy and awareness of our interconnectedness. And I guess, ultimately, love.”
Broadway veteran Nathan Lane stars opposite Garfield as Roy Cohn, based on the real-life closeted attorney who represented Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the mid-1950s as part of the Army-McCarthy hearings. Cohn, incidentally, was also President Trump’s former lawyer and close confidante.
“Because of the fact that people are aware that Roy was Trump’s lawyer and mentor, now you hear some of the things he’s saying and they sound very familiar,” Lane told Variety, calling Cohn “a vile human being … a cautionary tale.” Cohn died in August 1986 from complications related to AIDS.
Prior to the November 2016 presidential election, Garfield told Time magazine that he recognized the “tremendous chasm” that was beginning to form between the two political parties as similar to what had happened in Britain earlier; he proposed genuine “compassion and empathy” as a way forward.