In honor of World AIDS Day, historic ‘Normal Heart’ to screen today

A Q&A afterward will feature Emmy Award-winning director Paris Barclay and members of the predominately BIPOC and LGBTQ cast. 

Larry Kramer’s Tony Award–winning play THE NORMAL HEART will stream as a benefit virtual reading on Saturday, December 4, 2021, in honor of World AIDS Day (December 1) to raise awareness and show support for people living with HIV. Presented in collaboration with Invisible Histories Project on ONE Archive Foundation’s Eventive page, the reading will be followed by a Q&A featuring feature Emmy Award–winning director Paris Barclay and members of the cast.

The virtual reading features an all-star cast, including Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us, Black Panther); Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black, Promising Young Woman); Jeremy Pope (Hollywood, Choir Boy); Vincent Rodriguez III (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Insatiable): Guillermo Díaz (Scandal, Weeds); Jake Borelli (Grey’s Anatomy, The Thing About Harry); Ryan O’Connell ( Special, Will & Grace); Daniel Newman (Walking Dead, Homeland); Jay Hayden (Station 19, The House Bunny); and Danielle Savre (Station 19, Heroes). The virtual reading will include a special introduction by Martin Sheen.

Director and cast of ‘The Normal Heart.’ Top row: PARIS BARCLAY (Director and Narrator), JAKE BORELLI (Tommy Boatwright), STERLING K. BROWN (Ned Weeks); LAVERNE COX (Dr. Emma Brookner); middle row: GUILLERMO DÍAZ (Ben Weeks), JAY HAYDEN (David / Hiram Keebler), RYAN O’CONNELL (Craig Donner / Grady), JEREMY POPE (Felix Turner); bottom row: VINCENT RODRIGUEZ III (Bruce Niles), DANIEL NEWMAN (Mickey Marcus), DANIELLE SAVRE (Examining Doctor). Photos courtesy of the actors.

This presentation of THE NORMAL HEART first took place in May 2021 to high acclaim, reaching audiences nationwide and in 19 countries. The reading marked the first time the play featured a cast that is predominately BIPOC and LGBTQ. In its review, the Los Angeles Times praised cast member Sterling K. Brown, noting how he “captured so brilliantly” the starring role in the reading. They added: “the choice of Brown was inspired. Not only is he an exceptional, Emmy-winning actor, but his performance represented an act of coalition building, a recognition of shared struggle and a refusal to let the walls of identity serve as a prison.”

The encore presentation of THE NORMAL HEART will take place on Saturday, December 4, 2021, at 3:00 pm ET and again at 8:00 pm ET. Tickets are now on sale and proceeds will support ONE Archives Foundation’s LGBTQ initiatives. Tickets ($20–$100) can be purchased online. Student tickets are available for $10 for the 3:00 pm ET performance only.

“This presentation of The Normal Heart and its extraordinarily talented, diverse cast made an incredible impact earlier this year. We all felt it was important to re-stream the historic reading to bring more awareness not just to World AIDS Day, but to the message of Larry Kramer’s landmark play — which feels even more relevant today,” said Paris Barclay, Director.

Designed by Rubén Esparza.

This performance of THE NORMAL HEART is an important reminder that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not over, with nearly 38 million people living with HIV globally in 2020. Its ongoing impact disproportionately affects the Black community. As of 2019, 42% of new HIV cases have occurred within the Black community, which only makes up 13% of the US population. According to the CDC, in 2019, Southern states account for an estimated 51% of new HIV cases annually, even though only 38% of the US population lives in the Southern region.

“We are humbled to show this encore presentation of THE NORMAL HEART in honor of World AIDS Day, which takes place on December 1 each year,” said Jennifer C. Gregg, Executive Director, ONE Archives Foundation. “World AIDS Day was founded in 1988 to fight against HIV, support people living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illness. The success of the first showing of THE NORMAL HEART, which reached audiences across the globe, reinforces just how important LGBTQ history and HIV awareness is today.”

THE NORMAL HEART focuses on the rise of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. After cofounding the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982, Larry Kramer founded ACT UP in 1987. Produced and taught all over the world, THE NORMAL HEART was selected as one of the 100 Greatest Plays of the Twentieth Century by the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain. It was the longest-running play in the history of The Public Theater. It was also made into an Emmy Award-winning film for HBO by Ryan Murphy.

Funds raised will also support Invisible Histories Project’s legacy of HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ activists through archiving, inclusion training, exhibitions, and programs that keep Southern LGBTQ history alive.

About ONE Archives Foundation

Founded in 1952, ONE Archives Foundation is the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States and is dedicated to telling the accurate stories and history of all LGBTQ people and their culture. As an independent nonprofit, ONE Archives Foundation promotes ONE Archives at the USC Libraries — the largest repository of LGBTQ materials in the world — and provides innovative educational initiatives, public exhibitions, and community programs.

The curatorial and educational choices made by ONE Archives Foundation are guided by our commitment to social equity and justice. We engage with the complexity of LGBTQ history and representation through highlighting the intersectional and authentic narratives of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), women, gender-nonconforming and transgender people, people of various abilities, youth, and elders across all socio-economic classes. Learn more, donate and become a member at, and connect with ONE on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @onearchives. 

About Invisible Histories Project

The Invisible Histories Project (IHP) is dedicated to making LGBTQ Southern history accessible to the community. IHP is a community archiving and public history project that works to connect LGBTQ individuals and organizations with institutions like universities, museums, and libraries in order to ensure that the rich and diverse LGBTQ history of the South is preserved for future generations.

IHP’s collection area consists of Alabama, Mississippi, the Florida panhandle, and Georgia, including the Atlanta metropolitan area. IHP curates in-person and online public exhibits, travels across the US speaking on Southern LGBTQ history, provides training and education to individuals and organizations, assists LGBTQ nonprofits in preserving their organizational history, and hosts multiple graduate and undergraduate internships each year. To learn more, visit and with IHP on Facebook, Instagram @invisiblehistoriesproject, and Twitter @ihpsouth.


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