Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Angels in America)

by Tony Kushner

Paperback, 1994



Call number




Theatre Communications Group (1994), Paperback


The second half of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic Angels in America, Perestroika steers the characters introduced in Millennium Approaches from the opportunistic eighties to a new sense of community in the nineties. "Not only a stunning resolution of the resounding human drama of Millennium Approaches, but also a true millennial work of art."--Frank Rich, The New York Times

User reviews

LibraryThing member darwin.8u
I loved Angels in America. There is a lot of modern American drama that I believe just doesn't hold up as literature. Kushner, however, belongs in the same pantheon of modern American greats as Pinter and Mamet.
LibraryThing member corinneblackmer
As Part II opens, the Angel attempts to make Prior the prophet of a message of non-progress, non-movement, and non-mingling, saying that the constant transformation has "upset heaven" and, indirectly, caused G-d to flee heaven. Belize finds this message proto fascist and Prior's appearance as a
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prophet disturbing. Belize and Prior follow Louis so that Prior can take a look at Joe, who he calls the "Marlboro Man," and these trips land Prior in the Mormon Visitors Center in New York. Hannah, Joe's mother, has moved to New York from Utah after her son Joe tells her over the telephone that "he is a homosexual," and then asks ir his father loved him. Prior walks into the Mormon Visitor Center and collapses, and Hannah ends up helping him to get to the hospital, where they quickly become friends. Hannah shares with Prior a belief in angels, who she calls "prayers with wings," and they are visited by an angel who is enraged that Prior is not promulgating the prophecy of non-progress and non-movement. Hannah tells Joe to demand that the angel bless him and not to let go until the angel does so, recapitulating the scene from Genesis where Jacob wrestles with the angel to earn the blessing of "od ha'im" (more life). Prior goes to heaven and rejects the prophecy that the angels have given him, but also demands the blessing of more life. In the meantime, Roy Cohn is dying of AIDS and gets a stash of an effective anti-AIDS drug called AZT. When he dies, Belize insists that Louis thank him by saying the Kaddish over him, and he is assisted in doing so by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg. Belize gives the AZT to Louis, who therefore wins the gift of "od ha'im." At the end of the play, Hannah, Belize, Louis, and Prior have become close friends, and gather under the fountain of the Angel Bethesda to predict events in the Middle East. For her part, Harper, now recovered from her self-delusions, is seen taken a plane across the country and imagining angels holding hands to repair the rents in the ozone layer.
This is an epic work of enormous scope and vision that reveals the uncanniness and unpredictability of human lives by showing how unlikely people meet--whether they show up in each other's dreams or, indeed, an out gay man ends up at the Mormon Visitor Center. The conceit of the angels--and both Mormonism and Judaism believe in angels--is very effective, and the angels give hope even as their message of forced inertia cannot be accepted.
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LibraryThing member mamzel
In Part 2 of Angels in America, our characters have to deal with terrible decisions. Roy becomes very sick and pulls all sorts of strings to get AZT. Joe and Harper separate. Louis is afraid of seeing Prior and develops a relationship with Joe. Belize continues to be the voice of reason for
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The lives of the characters are so filled with fear, anxiety, self-loathing, denial, and more fear. We have seen a little of how tragic and difficult the life of homosexuals were then.
This play was produced by HBO and after reading it, I intend to find it and watch it again.
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Lambda Literary Award (Winner — Drama — 1994)
Tony Award (Winner — Play — 1994)
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award (Runners Up — Play — 1994)
Drama Desk Award (Winner — 1993-1994)


Original publication date


Physical description

158 p.; 8.3 inches


1559360739 / 9781559360739
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