Friday, September 28, 2012

Ensemble Theatre
September 28 through October 21
or go online to

Bob Abelman

Revived on Broadway in 2011 after a 1985 New York premiere, “The Normal Heart” is still a disturbing work whose confrontational rhetoric about the on-going AIDS epidemic continues to bite.  As a now-historical marker of a medical problem in its infancy and a sociopolitical movement at its birth, its poignancy is immediate and penetrating.  The play is also about as entertaining as a public service announcement. 

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.

Roy Berko

THE NORMAL HEART is an absolute must see production.  The message is important.  The quality of the script impressive.  The production is one of the highlights of this theatrical season!

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Fran Heller

Get thee to Ensemble Theatre, where an unforgettable production of "The Normal Heart," Larry Kramer's searing agitprop drama about the early years of the HIV/AIDS crisis is burning up the stage.  Award-winning director Sarah May motivates an all-star cast with such heart and integrity that the two-hour-and-40 minute production, including intermission, flew by. Believe me when I say theater doesn't get any better than this.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey
It's all rescued by Kramer's insightful, piercingly personal details, as gay men struggle at the very beginning of the AIDS onslaught.  And this battle is rendered with shattering believability by a strong Ensemble cast under the unerring direction of Sarah May.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene
Marjorie Preston

"The Normal Heart" is heartbreaking, but thirty years later, the story of the men who were at the front lines of the AIDS crisis still needs to be told. Ensemble's powerful and sobering production, filled with amazingly talented actors, is harrowing and unflinching, and shows humanity at its most vulnerable.
To see a full review of this show, read Marjorie Preston's blog "Brava!" here.

Andrea Simakis

As "The Normal Heart" opens, a trio of screens mounted on the stage flashes the date (July 1981), the place (New York City Hospital) and a number ("41 cases reported"), a statistic that will grow like the cancerous purple lesions covering the bodies of Dr. Emma Brookner's patients.
In Ensemble Theatre's moving, incendiary production of Larry Kramer's historic play -- as much a call to arms as a piece of theater in the tradition of Clifford Odets -- the screens serve not just as set pieces, but as a digital Greek chorus, explaining and accusing as the deaths of gay men mount, victims of an unnamed plague. (By the final scene, in May 1984, the number of reported cases has metastasized to 2,860.)

Read Andrea Simakis' full review at Cleveland.com