NEW YORK - A bitter optimism is felt at the end of the marathon, two-part AIDS play "Angels in America" and one of its stars, Andrew Garfield, shares some of that hope, especially with so many young people in the #NeverAgain movement demanding gun law changes and begging not to be cut down by bullets.
Garfield said the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning work resonates as much today as it did when it first premiered more than 25 years ago, citing Saturday's March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., and around the country.
"These incredibly inspiring, beautiful young people organized the March for Our Lives," he said Sunday at an opening night party. "You have teenagers who are wiser than the elders of our population, teenagers who are wiser and smarter and who are being forced to fight for simply being alive."
He added:"Thank God they are doing what they are doing, and we need to stand with them and follow them and help them lead."
The former Spider-Man actor, who has been on Broadway before in "Death of a Salesman," has transferred Tony Kushner's seven-hour masterpiece from London to Broadway. "Angels in America" dramatizes the early days of the AIDS crisis in 1980s and the effects of Reaganism.
In his final monologue, Garfield's character says: "The dead will be commemorated. And we'll struggle on with the living. And we are not going away. We won't die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward."
Kushner has said that all his plays, and this one in particular, seem to thrive under Republican administrations. But he said Sunday the current Donald Trump administration is like none that he has ever seen.
"There have been many bad Republican administrations. I would argue that, with the possible exception of some parts of the Eisenhower administration, it's all been pretty terrible. This is indescribably worse than anything we've had before, so maybe this is the moment when the play will really hit big," Kushner said.
The play also stars Nathan Lane, Lee Pace, Denise Gough, and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. It is directed by Tony- and Olivier-winner Marianne Elliott.
Garfield said Kushner's dogged optimism for a broken-down world and craving for life itself makes his words so appealing in 2018.
"It does feel like we are dreaming of a better future. I think that is what Tony is trying to do with the play. He's giving us a very accurate depiction of the hell we are in, and then he is giving us a way out, which is through community, empathy, remembering about the sacredness of life — all life — and the mystery of longing for more life," Garfield said.