amfAR and director Ellie Heyman have come together to present The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels in America, benefitting amfAR’s Fund to Fight COVID-19.

In discussions with Ellie Heyman about assembling an online evening benefitting the Fund to Fight Covid-19, organizers all shared a sense of déjà vu, struck by how many aspects of the coronavirus pandemic seem to mirror the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s. Ms. Heyman proposed an evening of scenes from one of the best-known plays of that era, Angels In America, with the selection of scenes to be guided by relevance to and resonance with our present emergency, and by the play’s insistence on imagination, vision and connection as sources of the hope, courage and endurance to overcome even the worst adversity, even in the worst of times.

The 60-minute broadcast will livestream on’s YouTube channel on October 8th at 8:30p.m. EST. For viewing information, please visit

The event will feature Glenn Close, Paul Dano, Laura Linney, Patti Lupone and many more.

Working with playwright Tony Kushner, theater director Ellie Heyman (Director in Residence, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater) has enlisted a spectacular cast of actors, artists and technicians for this virtual production of scenes from Angels in America.

The artists who’ve generously given of their time and talent include, in addition to the extraordinary actors listed above: Composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone (San Fermin, New York City Ballet), award-winning creative director Paul Tate dePoo III, and TBD Creative Media.

Alan Cumming, Whoopi Goldberg and Jake Gyllenhaal will participate in interstitial moments throughout production.

The free virtual event will be followed by a live conversation moderated by Paul Wontorek, Editor-in-Chief of, and feature Mr. Kushner, Ellie Heyman, amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost and several of the actors from the production. They will discuss the play, as well as activism and COVID-19 research.

Viewers who make a donation of $100 or more will have an exclusive opportunity to hear directly from the cast and creative directors about the event and the importance of joining forces to support COVID-19 research.

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