Wood ’84 Excels as Roy Cohn in Angels in America Revival

Frank Wood '84 as Roy Cohn

Frank Wood ’84 is currently starring in the acclaimed off-Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize- winning play Angels in America, which has been playing to sold-out houses at the Signature Theatre in Manhattan since opening this fall and runs through March 27.

Set in New York City during the mid-’80s, this epic work follows the interconnected lives of several people affected by the AIDS crisis, intense spiritual experiences, and the Reagan Administration. Wood plays the demanding role of the closeted gay lawyer, Roy Cohn.

Tony Award-winner Wood has been highly praised for his performance.

Scott Brown in New York magazine wrote: “Blowing right past caricature into the Great Beyond is Frank Wood’s Roy, a towering, terrifying creation that is purely theatrical and entirely honest, all at once. Wood seems to unhinge his jaw before he speaks, as if he’s getting ready to swallow someone whole. Very often, that’s just what he does. Cohn is one of Kushner’s greatest creations, a magnetic Satan utterly comfortable with his own self-loathing, a master externalizer of self-hate. Wood makes him equal parts Sid Caesar and Iago, and somehow, this works.”

Ben Brantley in The New York Times commented: “Mr. Wood is less the mythic monster than his predecessors were …. this devil in the flesh exists on a newly human scale. We can feel for Roy in a way we didn’t before. That doesn’t mean he is less dangerous or less culpable. And Mr. Kushner, as a moralist and ideologue, is never going to let Roy off the hook of his own viciousness. But Mr. Wood’s performance reminds us that Mr. Kushner doesn’t write caricatures but characters.”

And Jeremy Gerard on Bloomberg.com said that Wood’s gives “a career-topping performance as the sneering, foul-mouthed, inexhaustibly mendacious Cohn.”

Wood offers his thoughts on Angels in America here.

For tickets to the play, go to the Signature Theatre Company web site.

David Low

David Low '76 writes about arts and culture for the Wesleyan magazine and Wesleyan Connection. He is associate director of publications in the Office of University Communications. He is also a published fiction writer. E-mail: dlow@wesleyan.edu