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The Normal Heart Stars BIPOC, LGBTQ+ Cast for ONE Archives World AIDS Day Encore 

The Normal Heart Stars BIPOC, LGBTQ+ Cast for ONE Archives World AIDS Day Encore 

The Normal Heart

Paris Barclay directed the reading of Larry Kramer's play about HIV and AIDS that stars Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox, and Jake Borelli. 

In a virtual performance last spring for the ONE Archives and the Invisible Histories Project, a star-studded cast including Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox, Jake Borelli, Jeremy Pope, Guillermo Diaz, and Ryan O'Connell brought to life Larry Kramer's breakthrough play The Normal Heart, one of the first pieces of art to chronicle the impact of HIV and AIDS on the gay community. The reading was directed by Emmy-winner Paris Barclay with a special introduction from Martin Sheen. Tickets are on sale for the December 4 encore performances (one at noon Pacific time and one at 5 p.m. Pacific) in honor of World AIDS Day now.

The performance that features primarily a cast of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ performers is a reminder that the HIV epidemic continues, according to a release from ONE Archives.

"Its ongoing impact disproportionately affects the Black community. As of 2018, 42 percent of new HIV cases have occurred within the Black community, which only makes up 13 percent of the US population," the release states. "According to the CDC in 2019, Southern states account for an estimated 51percent of new HIV cases annually, even though only 38 percent of the US population lives in the Southern region. While many believe that HIV/AIDS is no longer a contemporary issue, living with HIV is still a daily reality, especially within the Black community and communities of color."

The Public Theater's longest-running play in history, Kramer's semi-autobiographical Normal Heart focuses on the rise of HIV and activism in response to a government that turned a blind eye to the communities affected by it. Ryan Murphy directed a film based on the play in 2014 that included Mark Ruffalo, Joe Mantello, Jim Parsons, and Matt Bomer.

"This presentation of The Normal Heart and its extraordinarily talented, diverse cast made an incredible impact earlier this year. We all felt it was important to re-stream the historic reading to bring more awareness not just to World AIDS Day, but to the message of Larry Kramer's landmark play -- which feels even more relevant today," Barclay said in a release.

This Is Us star Brown plays the lead character Ned Weeks, the character based on Kramer's life, while Cox plays the compassionate Dr. Emma Brookner. Hollywood's Jeremy Pope is Weeks's lover, Felix Turner, and Diaz plays Weeks's attorney brother, Ben Weeks. Grey's Anatomy and The Thing About Harry star Borelli portrays Tommy Boatwright (played by Jim Parsons in the film). Rounding out the cast are Jay Hayden, Daniel Newman, Vincent Rodriguez III, Danielle Savre, and O'Connell. The performance includes a special introduction from Martin Sheen.

ONE Archives Foundation is the oldest active LGBTQ+ organization in the United States and is dedicated to telling the accurate stories and history of all LGBTQ+ people and their culture. The Invisible Histories Project is dedicated to making LGBTQ+ Southern history accessible to the community, according to the release.

"We are humbled to show this encore presentation of The Normal Heart in honor of World AIDS Day, which takes place on December 1 each year," said Jennifer C. Gregg, Executive Director, ONE Archives Foundation. "World AIDS Day was founded in 1988 to fight against HIV, support people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illness. The success of the first showing of TheNormal Heart, which reached audiences across the globe, reinforces just how important LGBTQ history and HIV awareness is today."

Purchase tickets for the screening of The Normal Heart at ONE Archives.

Catch a glimpse of the cast below.

Watch a brief clip of Brown in the lead role below.

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