The red ribbons have mostly disappeared from celebrity lapels, but AIDS, which plagues 24,000 Houstonians, is still an epidemic in our midst. To commemorate the ongoing struggle against the disease, first identified 25 years ago, Theatre New West presents a revival of 1985's call to arms The Normal Heart. Based closely on the life of its playwright, Larry Kramer, Heart tells the story of Ned Weeks, a homosexual activist struggling to raise awareness in the early days of the disease not yet called AIDS (1981 to 1984). Weeks first preached abstinence to extinguish "this plague" among gay men, often clashing with other activists. But when Weeks falls for the HIV-positive New York Times reporter Felix Turner, his outrage and urgency are directed toward a more personal kind of injustice. Representing the private and public faces of AIDS, Heart is a timely reminder that compassion and tolerance can be sources of strength.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sept. 29-30, 8 p.m. Starts: Aug. 11. Continues through Sept. 22