Sterling K. Brown & Laverne Cox Among All-Star Cast Of ‘The Normal Heart’ Virtual Benefit Reading

Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox Courtesy Photos

Sterling K. Brown, Laverne Cox, Jeremy Pope and Jake Borelli are among the all-star cast of a virtual benefit reading of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, to be directed by Paris Barclay.

The May 8 reading, to raise funds for ONE Archives Foundation and Invisible Histories Project, will include a special introduction by Martin Sheen.

Rounding out the cast are Vincent Rodriguez III (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend): Guillermo Díaz (Scandal); Jake Borelli (Grey’s Anatomy); Ryan O’Connell (Will & Grace); Daniel Newman (Walking Dead); Jay Hayden (Station 19); and Danielle Savre (Station 19). The reading, according to producers, will mark the first performance of Kramer’s Tony-winning play to be performed by a predominately BIPOC and LGBTQ cast.

“When I was approached by ONE Archives Foundation to direct a virtual reading of The Normal Heart, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Barclay (Station 19, Scandal). “I lived in New York through the 1980s, saw the original production with Brad Davis, and have never forgotten the experience. And through today’s lens, the story of a marginalized people pushed to activism by the onslaught of an epidemic clearly was worth telling again.”

Funds raised from this event will support ONE Archives Foundation’s LGBTQ education initiatives, including K-12 lesson plans on HIV/AIDS, teacher trainings, youth engagement, and ONE Archives Foundation’s exhibitions. The benefit also supports Invisible Histories Project’s efforts to preserve the legacy of HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ activists through archiving, inclusion training, exhibitions, and programs about Southern LGBTQ history.

The Normal Heart chronicles the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City, based on Kramer’s cofounding the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982. The play premiered Off Broadway at New York’s Public Theater in 1985, and was staged on Broadway by director Joel Grey and starring Joe Mantello in 2011, winning a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Ryan Murphy directed a 2014 film adaptation for HBO.

Tickets go on sale April 8 here. The reading is scheduled for Saturday, May 8 at 5 pm ET.

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