A different angle on Angels

Good for gays, bad for business?

Good for gays, bad for business?

The script of Angels in America. A play that was great for the gay community but bad for theatre funding and public image.

The arts in this country are grossly underfunded. There’s no need for a persuasive essay to be written on that, it’s pretty much common knowledge. But with the Arts being in as tenuous a position as they are when it comes to money, you’d think that playwrights and other theatre professionals would want to appeal to the broader sensibilities that govern this nation, correct?

Well, no. At least no according to Tony Kushner, who took it upon himself to write Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. If you are going to write a play with an almost entirely gay cast of characters, you could pick a worse time than the early nineties when gays were becoming predominant in the media and AIDS was creeping into the knowledge of the general populace like, well, AIDS. But seriously, the country is still conservative. Conservatives dislike the Arts almost as much as they dislike gay people.

This play attracted so much right-wing flak that one production in North Carolina was picketed and protested by enough people that the city of Charlotte cut arts funding the following year. Now, Should Tony Kushner lobby for gay rights? Yes, absolutely. But he could easily do it somewhere else. Somewhere where it can do some good politically and not damage the already splintered relationship that this country has with the arts.

Isaac Spooner

Kushner, Tony. Angels in America. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1994. Print.


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