All-star Online Benefit Performance of Scenes from ANGELS IN AMERICA

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research is proud to present:   


In support ofamfAR’s Fund to Fight Covid-19

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

New York, NY- September 21, 2020

For 35 years, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research has been committed to funding HIV research and to finding a cure for the 38 million people worldwide living with HIV.  We understand that epidemics and pandemics demand an immediate, unstinting response.  This is why, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic,  amfAR has joined the fight against COVID-19.  We’re working during this global health crisis to identify gaps in current research efforts and quickly mobilize resources to fill them.   

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 our discussions with Ellie Heyman about assembling an online evening benefitting the Fund to Fight Covid-19, we 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

Working with playwright Tony Kushner, Ms. Heyman (Director in Residence, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater) has enlisted a spectacular cast of actors, artists and technicians who’ve explored  Angels together, embracing both the familiar and the unexpected. 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), award-winning creative director Paul Tate dePoo III, and TBD Creative Media.

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. The conversation will offer viewers who make a donation of $100 or more 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.   

“I’m touched and honored that amfAR and the remarkable Ellie Heyman decided to build this evening around Angels, said Kushner. “For over thirty years, amfAR has been steadfastly determined to find a cure for AIDS. Like everyone else on the planet (except maybe some people), I’m praying that the novel coronavirus will prove easier to obliterate than HIV.  But I know we’ll all do whatever’s required to defeat this scourge,  and I know that amfAR, as it always has been, will be there in the heat of battle with us.  So, to everyone involved, and to everyone who watches the broadcast and decides to donate, thanks for supporting this heroic, essential American institution!“

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Ellie Heyman and to have the support of Tony Kushner for this timely reworking of what is considered to be the most profound and poignant artistic exploration of the AIDS crisis,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “Angels is an intensely personal work that is so much more than just an AIDS play and, in this time of COVID and national unrest, its themes of racism and government failings make it as relevant and resonant today as it was when it was first performed 30 years ago.”


Contact: Bennah Serfaty, amfAR Senior Director, Communications,  

Mary Pavlu, Program Communications Manager,

About amfAR 

amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and advocacy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $575 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide.