Fighting With Heart

Monday, June 13, 2011

Writer, playwright, activist, co-founder of GMHC, and founder of Act Up Larry Kramer talks about the Tony-winning revival of his play "The Normal Heart" about the onset of the AIDS crisis, and his activism.


Larry Kramer

Comments [12]


Two weeks ago I went with my husband and teenage son to this show. Although I lived through the time period and lost friends to AIDS, I was worried that it would be dated or inaccessible to theater-goers who didn't live through it, even though we all live with AIDS to this day. Well, this was the most remarkable play I have seen in many years. I was crying and gasping at the end, but I was also left with a butterfly of hope resting on my chest. Kramer shows a way for all social movements to stay focused, to keep pushing, and his actions, this play is an inspiration to anyone who advocates for social change. Thank you, Mr. Kramer. Thank you!

Jun. 14 2011 08:14 AM
E. J. Mitchell

Mr. Kramer’s complaint about “Brits” taking away awards from Americans is not only churlish, it is wrong. Kevin Spacey and Brian Dennehy have won the Olivier, the West End’s theatrical award, as leading actors. Plays by August Wilson, Arthur Miller, John Guare, and David Mamet have been winners in the best play category. Revivals of American musicals are regularly among the nominees and most often are the winners.
And the “gibberish” that Mr. Kramer accused Mark Rylance of speaking in his acceptance speech is from a poem by Louis Jenkins, a U.S. poet who lives in Duluth and regularly appears on Prarie Home Companion. You can’t get more American than that.

Jun. 13 2011 06:46 PM
Bill from Putnam Valley

Good grief, what a whiner. Broadway is commercial theater involving great risk taking by all involved. The Tonys exist to acknowledge those efforts. Off-Broadway is there to provide a place for development and expression in a more forgiving fiscal environment. They have their own vehicles for recognition. The two systems are symbiotic, but cannot and should not be conflated. Mr. Kramer has found success in both arenas but responds with puzzling venom.

Jun. 13 2011 12:14 PM
steve from upper west side - manhattan

I will always be grateful to Larry for his activism and his art, but his refusal to take our phone calls is showing the same disrespect as Ed Koch's refusal to take his calls some 30 years ago. And calling us en masse "crazies" is as foolish and inaccurate as any general homophobic slur.

Jun. 13 2011 12:03 PM
Matthew from Union, NJ

Get this pompous windbag off the air. I am a perfectly sane, self-actualized, fully-employed, contributiing member of the gay community, but this guy needs to shut the hell up. It's shame that the arguably much needed AIDS research and knowledge is needed but is being represented by this arrogant guy.

Jun. 13 2011 12:03 PM
Leah from Brooklyn

Why is Larry Kramer given air time basically to kvetch? Who cares what he thinks of Mark Rylance? His views on British-American theatre rivalries sound paranoid and naive. (Here's a hint, Larry: the Tonys have always been commercially motivated; an overwhelming number of Tony voters have financial stakes in the shows up for awards.)

Jun. 13 2011 11:58 AM
Zach from UWS

Hahaha. Broadway is all about money? Great discovery Sherlock...

Also, I find your nationalism a little disturbing. You can't advocate for "the best play" out of one side of your mouth while betraying your jingoistic bias out of the other side.

Jun. 13 2011 11:56 AM

We're not all crazy. Congrats on a well-deserved win and thanks for your activism, Larry Kramer.

Jun. 13 2011 11:55 AM
John from NYC

Of course it was/is terrible.

But Kramer says "What was happening to us," rather than "What we were doing to ourselves."

The fact is that the response of the medical establishment was greater than for any other health crisis.

And read The Band Played On, about the poor response from the gay community.

Jun. 13 2011 11:52 AM
William from Queens

It should not really matter whether Koch is gay or not. What he did is unforgivable and he isn't all that apologetic.

Jun. 13 2011 11:51 AM
john from office

Ed koch was an is a great man, not solely identified by his sexuality, Unlike the author,

Jun. 13 2011 11:50 AM
Brian Lehrer Show Moderator

Please keep comments brief, on topic, and civil. Comments that don't follow the guidelines will be removed.

Thank You,

BL Show moderator

Jun. 13 2011 10:54 AM

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