In this oral history, Butler and Kois narrate the development, production, critical reception, and cultural iconography of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, the classic play about the 1980s AIDS crisis and its devastating effects on those who lived through it.
This ongoing conversation captures all the twists and turns of fate that went into the two-part epic’s creation with a sense of suspense and drama–from the joy and exuberance to the heartache. And just like the play, Butler and Kois allow the rich complexity of the story to unfold through the conversations, discussions, and critiques of those involved...that are fascinating to read ... Butler and Kois place us on intimate terms with the play’s characters, ideas, and humanity–and their book, a prescient reminder of the need to follow one’s truth in the face of oppression and intolerance, will be an invaluable text for years to come.
The book will be incomprehensible to people who are not familiar with Angels in America, and it may not hold the interest of those whose familiarity with and interest in the play are merely passing. For those who do attempt it, though, The World Only Spins Forward is a vital book about how to make political art that offers lasting solace in times of great trouble, and wisdom to audiences in the years that follow.
a sweeping and richly detailed account of a play that unquestionably and in multiple ways reconfigured our collective cultural landscape. The book, which labors at times under its own surfeit of material, is especially and movingly good at capturing the ongoing reverberance and currency of Angels. It also conveys, on a granular level, the determination, heartbreak and competitive fire that go into making great theater ... Butler and Kois ... pile on more testimony...than they can usefully deploy. Exclamatory asides from relatively minor figures...come off as stray distractions. Other subjects, like the mechanics of angel wings or various student productions, might have been productively truncated. But when the authors succeed in orchestrating the voices, as they often do, the book takes on a choral authority.