TJ Trinidad reprises gay role

Actor TJ Trinidad rejoins the cast of The Normal Heart, an award-winning play about the struggle of the gay community against the AIDS problem during the early 1980s in New York City. TJ plays the charming and closeted banker Bruce Niles, whom gay activists prefer to lead them, rather than the confrontational Ned Weeks, played by Bart Guingona.

Produced to acclaim in New York, London and Los Angeles, The Normal Heart was written by American playwright, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) activist, and Gay Men’s Health Crisis founder Larry Kramer. The largely autobiographical play puts a human face to the crisis often mired in statistics, as Ned attempts to confront the issue personally.

TJ Trinidad; Bart  Guingona; Topper Fabregas

The searing drama follows Ned, the openly gay writer and activist, as he wages a lonely fight against the indifference of the city administration, the media, the doctors, and other private individuals, especially from the gay community, to the early rise of the AIDS outbreak. Tensions arise when Ned’s vociferous approach comes in conflict with Bruce’s calm and cautious ways. Yet, the two must overcome their differences to achieve a common goal.

Topper Fabregas, one of the founding members of Red Turnip Theater, portrays the role of Felix Turner, the handsome New York Times reporter whom Ned falls in love and begins a relationship with. Richard Cunanan plays Ned’s brother Ben, a successful lawyer whom Ned asks help from for funding his advocacy group. Although Ben loves his brother, he cannot seem to control his apparent homophobia from affecting his attitude toward Ned’s efforts.

Roselyn Perez is Dr. Emma Brookner, the independent physician and researcher who is considered the most experienced on the strange new epidemic. An opinionated doctor and a fighter at the same time, she laments the lack of medical knowledge on the mysterious virus. The doctor prescribes abstinence from sex, pending the findings on how the disease is spread.

2014 Aliw awardee Red Concepcion is the funny and outrageous Southern boy Tommy Boatwright, who is all the way out of the closet. PETA senior member Nor Domingo plays Mickey Marcus, another supporter of the gay movement. Jef Flores takes on multiple roles such as Craig, Grady and City Hall representative Hiram Keebler, assistant of the mayor.

Starting as an off-Broadway production, The Normal Heart had the gay community divided when it was first performed at The Public Theater in New York City in April 21, 1985, eventually winning a Dramatists Guild Marton Award, the City Lights Award, the Sarah Siddons Award for the best play of the year, and a nomination for an Olivier Award.

Kramer’s advocacy piece was later named one of the 100 greatest plays of the 20th century by the Royal National Theatre in 2000. It was then revived in Los Angeles and London and again off-Broadway in 2004. The play’s 2011 revival and Broadway debut, which opened in April 27 at NYC’s John Golden Theatre, got rave reviews and led to the production garnering the Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Featured Actress for Ellen Barkin, and Best Featured Actor for John Benjamin Hickey; Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Director of a Play, and Outstanding Ensemble; Drama League Award for Distinguished Revival of a Play; and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival.

Actor’s Actors, Inc.’s The Necessary Theatre is restaging the Tony Award-winning play tomorrow, 8 p.m., Oct. 4, , 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Oct. 9,  8 p.m., and Oct. 10 and 11, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the Carlos P. Romulo auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City. Guingona, an Aliw and Gawad Buhay! awardee, directs the local adaptation of the intense drama.

The Normal Heart is produced with special arrangement from Samuel French. For ticket inquiries, call TicketWorld at 8919999.

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