Play still strikes a nerve 26 years later

The Short North Stage production of both parts of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning “Angels in America” wraps this weekend, with a special opportunity to see both segments in one day or on consecutive days.

The plays balance realism and fantasy to create a fantastical, symbolic look at homosexuality and the gay community in America at the onset of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. The still-controversial and landmark work (“Angels in America” premiered 26 years ago) not only wrestles with the specter of HIV and the sort of shadow existence of homosexuals, but does so via the employ of a variety of voices, from corporate attorneys to drag queens to supernatural characters.

Short North Stage has enlisted puppeteers from Dayton's Zoot Theatre Company to add to the mystical quality of the production, which also happens to fall near the 30th anniversary of the approval of the first drugs used to combat this then-mounting epidemic.