Tony Kushner has a rep for being a chronic rewriter. And true to form, the playwright has incorporated fresh changes into the SignatureTheater Company’s Off Broadwayproduction of “Perestroika,” the second part of “Angels in America.”
Most other scribes would probably consider the 20-year-old play officially finished, especially since it scored the top play Tony in 1994.
But not Kushner. “Some plays are complete-able, and some aren’t,” he says. “They always feel unfinished. Not underdone or incomplete, but that there’s room to move around the pieces.”
Kushner says he’s made changes to “Perestroika” every time there’s been a major production of it. The latest round of rewrites was inspired in part, he says, by actor Bill Heck, who plays the tormented Mormon Joe Pitt in the Signature staging.
Aspects of Heck’s performance, along with Zachary Quinto’s perf as Joe’s first lover, led him to rethink some scenes, honing and clarifying Joe’s journey over the course of “Perestroika.” For instance, Joe has now been given more lines in his final conversation with the ghost of Roy Cohn.
Another version of “Angels” is going to print, incorporating the latest work Kushner’s done on “Perestroika.” “At least at the moment, I’m telling myself that this is probably it. At least for another 20 years.”