• Broadway Beat

Critics Citing "Angels In America" as Seminal Drama Willing to Overlook that "Prior" is a Dumb Name

by Kath Dunham. @kathdunham.

NEW YORK, NY - Theater critics around the world have come forward today to emphasize that they still consider Tony Kushner’s revered, seminal 1991 play Angels in America to be a “stunning portrayal of the AIDS crisis” and “the best play of the twentieth century,” but that they also recognize “Prior” is a really dumb name and are just willing to let it slide, numerous sources confirmed.


“The play is technically perfect,” said theatre critic Anne Fret, speaking on behalf of the American Theatre Critics Association. “Kushner writes with such vivid, meaningful words. Except for the word ‘Prior’ of course, which he seems to think is a name. But that’s unimportant in the scheme of things.”


In his recent review of the play, critic Josh Martone voiced a similar opinion, lauding the play’s rounded characters, its smart use of fantasy, and never once calling out Kushner for using such a dumb, dumb, dumbass name.


“It’s a beautifully complex and multidimensional look at life during the AIDS epidemic and I really don’t mind that Kushner chose one stupid name,” Martone reported. “Plus, he really knocks it out of the park with names like Harper and Belize. So what if one is a dud? I think it evens out.” 


Theresa Voss, head of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, gave an equally positive review.


“The play still holds up in 2019,” Voss said, filled with admiration. “I mean, choosing to name a character Prior still makes as little sense as it did in the ‘90s. And choosing it as the name of your protagonist isn’t great. It’s just a really dumb name - sounds dumb when you say it. But the Tony’s let it slide, the Pulitzer let it slide, HBO let it slide, and so should we.”


At press time, Voss was heard explaining a technique many critics, actors and director have been known to use when reading the play: simply replacing the name in your head with a less dumb one, like Peter, or maybe even Tyler.