"I belong to a culture that includes Proust, Henry James, Tchaikovsky, Cole Porter, Plato, Socrates," writes Larry Kramer in The Normal Heart. He immediately demands our attention. This blistering semiautobiographical play from the angriest gay man in America (a title bestowed on him by a clever reporter) is both screed and prayer, a primer on the physical and emotional beginnings of AIDS. Filled with condemnation, righteous anger and bitchy humor, it pays profound tribute to those who have died through neglect and bureaucratic inefficiency. The work is also a rousing call-to-action for those still standing. Screenwriter, author, activist and provocateur, Kramer is no shrinking violet, and no one can expect his work to be in any way timid. Prickly and loud, Kramer's drama has proven prophetic as we face this modern scourge. Presented on World AIDS Day as a benefit for Houston GLBT Community Center, Theatre New West's production will be a staged reading with pre-show reception and a talk-back with the cast after the show. 7:30 p.m. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-522-2204 or visit www.theatrenewwest.com. $30.
Wed., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m., 2010