Book, Music, and Lyrics by Christopher Wilson
LIVING WITH HENRY began with my personal HIV diagnosis 10 years ago - and grew as a means to cope with something that was initially very frightening - to shift it into something more humanized and emotionally manageable. The piece importantly frames HIV as a chronic illness rather than a death sentence - and it explores the very real challenges inherent in living with HIV today. Although HIV is a much different animal than it was twenty years ago - there is still a great deal of ignorance, stigma, misunderstanding and fear that we need to work through together as a united community.
LIVING WITH HENRY has had two previous productions in Toronto, Canada and audiences resonate with the honesty and boldness of the piece. It is authentic, non-apologetic and deeply sincere. Though the musical is centric to HIV, “Henry” represents a seemingly insurmountable challenge in someone's life that gets in the way and takes up all the space (such as depression, diabetes, mental illness, cancer) - and thus the piece is universal and relatable.
I say jokingly, if you want to engage in therapy but not pay a therapist, write a show about your life - give it to a group of smart and questioning actors - and have them rip it apart and put it back together. The process is incredibly enlightening, terrifying and equally inspiring. Though LIVING WITH HENRY addresses a serious issue, you can’t talk about HIV without talking about sex - and sex can be very funny indeed! Especially when you have drag queens posing as HIV medications singing about the trials of antiretroviral therapy - and sexy boys dancing about in bathhouse towels. Now - that’s a show you want to see!
To buy tickets or to learn more about Living With Henry go to www.nymf.org/livingwithhenry or call 212-352-3101