Oct 2, 2013

Cromer's Town

Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
I confess I haven't followed David Cromer's busy New York directing career as closely as I could or should have; but how could I? He's been as busy as Sam Gold, it seems, since he brought that amazing Our Town to town a few years ago (actually I'd count his winning streak from the import of The Adding Machine the previous year, in which show I was lucky enough to catch the subbing Nick Offerman; Cromer's New York directing debut, I was recently reminded, was actually Orson's Shadow in 2005, starring fellow Chicagoan Tracy Letts).

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. 

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