|Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation|
Now he's returning to Chicago to act in the Timeline Theatre's revival of The Normal Heart, in the role of Ned Weeks--a role that apparently lends itself well to director/actors, as Joe Mantello returned to performing after a long hiatus for the play's 2011 revival. (Interestingly enough, there's another synchronistic connection with another iconic AIDS play: Cromer played Louis Ironson in an acclaimed Chicago storefront production of Angels in America back in '98--the role Mantello originated in L.A. and on Broadway.)
This was a fine excuse to sit with Cromer and chat for Chicago magazine. A sample:
Northlight’s 1986 production of [Normal Heart], directed by Eric Simonson, transfixed Cromer (“It’s one of the only times I’ve leapt to my feet at the end of a show,” he says) and not least because he was coming of age himself during the plague years. The formative fears of that time can still surface: Cromer says that while getting tested for HIV some years ago, he started to “wig out” until a clinic counselor close to his own age put things in perspective. “He said, ‘It’s our generation; we’re just scared, and we’ll never not be scared.’ The monster can’t be defanged for us."RTWT here.