Saturday, March 10, 2018

Today In 1985, 'As Is' Premiers In New York City

As Is is a play by William M. Hoffman. The Circle Repertory Company and John Glines co-production, directed by Marshall W. Mason, opened today, March 10, in 1985 at the Circle Theatre, where it ran for 49 performances. 

The Broadway production, produced by John Glines, Lawrence Lane, Lucille Lortel, and the Shubert Organization, opened on May 1 at the Lyceum Theatre, where it ran for 285 performances following 6 previews. The cast included Robert Carradine, Jonathan Hadary, Jonathan Hogan, Lou Liberatore, Ken Kliban, and Claris Erickson.

The play received the 1985 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.

As Is focuses on the effect that AIDS, a fairly new pandemic at the time, has on a group of friends living in New York City. It was one of the first plays, and subsequent television films, depicting how the pandemic was affecting LGBT Americans, being produced shortly before Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart was first performed on April 21, 1985.

This play revolves around a gay couple, Saul and Rich, who are  separating. But Rich’s firm resolution is not that decisive, for he returns to Saul’s arms once he contracts AIDS from his new lover. Seeking emotional support, Rich stages how the diseased are treated by the American family, doctors, and friends. The impersonality of these people’s behavior leads Rich to notice the importance of the partner for the gay individual.

In 1986, Hoffman adapted the play for a television production directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg starring Hadary, Robert Carradine, and Colleen Dewhurst. Both Hadary and Carradine were nominated for Cable ACE Awards.

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