We’re closing in on the end of our Writing New York semester with some texts that explore utopian and dystopian elements of New York City at the end of the 20th century and start of the 21st. When we first taught this course in 2003, most students hadn’t seen Kushner’s Angels in America because they had been too young for its Broadway run. The HBO version hadn’t been made yet, either. But now we’ve seen both that adaptation and a Broadway revival and can reflect on two decades’ worth of the play’s impact on our culture:
When Angels premiered, critics hailed it as bringing salvation to the declining American theater — and to Broadway in particular. Our Cambridge Companion contributor Robin Bernstein quotes the critic John Clum on the play’s role in reframing American literature in relation to gay culture: the play marked “a turning point in the history of gay drama, the history of American drama, and of American literary culture … remov[ing] from the closet once and for all the enlivening relationship of gay culture and American theater and the centrality of the homosexual gaze in American literature.”
We’re now accustomed to see Kushner as a literary giant of the new millennium:
I haven’t seen that 2007 documentary. Have you? Any thoughts you’d like to share on Kushner’s place in American literature at the turn of the 21st century?
Here’s our post from last year offering a round-up of our Angels-related blog content over the years.