Twenty years ago, David Drake won an OBIE Award for his one-man show The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, and twenty years later his show still holds the test of time. I was fortunate enough to attend the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS 20th Anniversary Benefit performance on Monday, May 20 at the Gerard W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College.
I was first introduced to The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me when I met David Drake in 1998 at the American Repertory Theatre. I had never seen the play live, but did read the script after meeting David. Then in 2000, David released a DVD of The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and that was my first time seeing him perform the show. But it was something else to be at this benefit and get to see David perform his work on stage alongside these other extremely gifted actors.
Originally performed as a one-man show, David brilliantly re-imagined The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me as an ensemble cast for this special 20th Anniversary Benefit. Bringing David's timeless and moving words to life were the talents of Brandon Cordeiro, two-time Tony Award nominee Robin De Jesús, two-time Tony nominee André De Shields, Claybourne Elder, Tony nominee Rory O'Malley, Anthony Rapp, Chad Ryan, Donald C. Shorter, Jr., Wesley Taylor, Aaron Tone, Tony winner BD Wong, and of course, David himself.
The talents of these actors all blended together perfectly. The simplistic, yet powerful staging worked excellently with the ensemble cast. From coming out to the AIDS epidemic to fighting back through ACT UP, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me is a touching story of one-man's journey through this time in our history. David's writing is so strong which is why it continues to ring true today. One exciting part of the evening was that David added an adendum to the show, which focused on how our past got us to today and beyond.
I do hope after last night's benefit performance that The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me gets a bigger revival. While we have come a long way in our history, we do need to revisit the past to help us have a prosperous future.
That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!