Producers recently announced that Patrick Breen and Luke Macfarlane will be among the cast of the new touring version of Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart,” which will launch at Arena Stage in June.
Performances are currently scheduled for June 8 – July 29 in the Kreeger Theatre.
Breen appeared in the Broadway production as Mickey Marcus, but will head the cast as AIDS activist Ned Weeks in the touring version of the play. Tony winner Joe Mantello played Weeks on Broadway. Macfarlane also appeared in the Broadway production as Donner/Grady, though he will play Felix Turner in the new version.
Among other cast members announced are Christopher J. Hanke, known for his work in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Hanke will play Tommy Boatwright in “The Normal Heart.”
“The Normal Heart” is Kramer’s autobiographical account of New York during the early days of the AIDS crisis. A press release states that the play “Unfolds like a real-life political thriller – as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence. A quarter-century after it was written, this outrageous, unflinching and totally unforgettable look at the politics of New York during the AIDS crisis remains one of the theater’s most powerful evenings ever.”
The play first premiered off-Broadway in 1985, and a Broadway revival was staged in 2011. The latter production went on to win a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
In additional “Normal Heart” news, Glee creator Ryan Murphy will direct an upcoming film adaptation of the play. So far, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin and Jim Parsons of “Big Bang Theory” have signed on to star in the production. The role of Ned Weeks, which is based on Kramer, will be played by Mark Ruffalo.