Two decades after its debut, Angels in America can still resonate with audiences. "Within Angels we are privy to many facets of being gay in America then and now," says Justin M. Kirkeberg, who is directing a new production of Tony Kushner's landmark play for Theatre Coup d'Etat. "From one man's struggle to accept his homosexuality, to another facing a long battle with HIV and his partner's duty to him, to another man who uses his power to conceal his sexuality." Kirkeberg also notes that while there are now treatments that can extend the lives of those with HIV and AIDS, there is still no cure, and more than a million new infections are seen every year. That's only part of the context for producing the show. There is also the desire to work on an engrossing and challenging piece of theater. The new company, which formed in 2011, has already tackled Macbeth and A Streetcar Named Desire. The latest project, which covers the first half of Kushner's work, includes the talents of Steven Flamm, Peter Beard, Meagan Dowd, Brandon Caviness, James Napoleon Stone, and others. "The challenges in working with the script stem from not letting Kushner's epic speeches become too histrionic and self-indulgent. As a cast and crew we are striving to keep the material as raw, fresh, and alive," he says. The company faces an added challenge with this production: They are performing it at two locations. "We have to keep that in mind as we build our world," says Kirkeberg. The show runs through August 4 at Lowry Lab Theater (350 St. Peter St., St. Paul), then travels to In the Heart of the Beast (1500 E. Lake St., Minneapolis) August 16 through 25. Visit www.theatrecoupdetat.com to purchase tickets or call 612.239.7643 for more info.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: July 12. Continues through Aug. 4, 2012