Gregory Blair To Play Roy Cohn in Shakespeare on the Deck's 'Angels in America'
HOLLYWOOD, Calif.: Known for iconic, innovative re-imaginings of theater, Shakespeare on the Deck announces a new production of Angels in America, Tony Kushner's award-winning two-play saga of sex, politics and American ideals in the 1980's. The plays are infused with foreboding nightmares, whimsical comedy, angels and demons; the key demon being real-life monster Roy Cohn, one of the most infamous lawyers of all time. Award-winning actor Gregory Blair is on deck to bring Cohn to raging life for this new production.
"It's an honor on so many levels," Blair said. "Not only the privilege to speak the playwright's indelible words and inhabit his incredible creation, but to step into shoes filled by such masters of the art as Al Pacino, F. Murray Abraham, Nathan Lane and Ron Leibman. It's a daunting challenge, but my goal is to bring something fresh to the role; something only I can bring that, I hope, will thrill and delight theatergoers."
Blair also remarked on the play's timeliness—despite being a period piece. "I was struck by the prescience of the play. I mean, it's about (among other things) a virus threatening to become a pandemic, struggles of race and sexuality…and the Roy Cohn character warps reality with a twisted logic that echoes our last administration (which makes sense, since the real Roy Cohn was Trump's lawyer and advisor for years). I think the play—and particularly the Roy Cohn character—has become even more chilling and evocative now than it was when the play first emerged. Which shows what a powerful, timeless piece it is."
Cohn is not the first evil character Blair has brought to life. His indomitable, inhuman Harold in Fang earned him a "Best Actor" award on the festival circuit and he plays two very different kinds of lethal villains in the upcoming films Trick and Treats and The Horrific Evil Monsters. "But, the thing about Kushner's' Cohn," Blair says, "is that, despite being horrific, hateful and vile, he also has a sense of humor and charm and even a little heart—all of which make him not only fully human, but surprisingly—at least occasionally—likeable. Which is always a nice trait for a monster to have to suck you in before ripping you to shreds."
The production is set for an exclusive, limited run May 2021 in the heart of Hollywood under the direction of Mikey Mulhearn. The rest of the cast includes Carol Damgen, Danny Lee Gomez, Dane Larsen, Evan Michael Lee, Michael Matts, Mikey Mulhearn and Libby Wahlmeier.