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David Cromer to star in TimeLine’s ‘Normal Heart’

Actor-director David Cromer returns Chicago star TimeLine Theatre’s producti“The Normal Heart.”

Actor-director David Cromer returns to Chicago to star in TimeLine Theatre’s production of “The Normal Heart.”

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Updated: January 24, 2013 9:36AM

David Cromer, the high-profile director who forged his career in Chicago as both an actor and director (of the acclaimed revival of “Our Town,” the much-heralded New York production of “Tribes,” and the recent Goodman production of “Sweet Bird of Youth”), is returning to the stage.

In what is a coup for Chicago’s ever-exceptional TimeLine Theatre, Cromer will return “home” to star in “The Normal Heart,” Larry’s Kramer’s landmark play about AIDS, and the early efforts of activists to draw attention to the disease. The show will be directed by Nick Bowling (“The History Boys,” “33 Variations”), and will open in October for a limited run at TimeLine’s “satellite venue” — Stage 773 at 1225 W. Belmont.

The TimeLine Theatre production will mark the first Chicago staging of the politically charged play since its Tony Award-winning Broadway revival in 2011. The performance schedule, along with additional productions in TimeLine’s 2013-14 season, are still to be announced.

Set between 1981 and 1984, “The Normal Heart” captures the early public and private indifference to the AIDS plague, and chronicles one man’s lonely fight to awaken the world to the crisis. Kramer’s largely autobiographical play gives us his alter ego in the form of a character named Ned Weeks (to be played by Cromer), a gay activist enraged at the unresponsiveness of public officials and the gay community itself. While trying to “save the world from itself,” Weeks also must confront the personal toll of AIDS when his lover dies of the disease.

Originally produced at New York’s Public Theater in 1985, “The Normal Heart” premiered in Chicago at Evanston’s Next Theatre two years later, starring Scott McPherson. It received that year’s Equity Jeff Award for outstanding production.

“It’s jarring to remember the terror, and the helplessness, and the feeling that talking about [AIDS] was somehow more distasteful than watching dozens, and then hundreds of people die horribly, and with not very much dignity,” said David Cromer in a prepared statement. “This play is about the courage necessary to risk being disliked.”

FlexPass subscriptions for TimeLine’s 2013-14 season will go on sale in March. Only TimeLine subscribers will be guaranteed priority access to tickets to “The Normal Heart.” Single tickets will go on sale in August. For more information, call (773) 281-8463, ext. 6 or visit

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