Freddy Mercury, lead singer of the band ‘Queen’, found himself getting weaker and weaker after being diagnosed with AIDS. This, however, had not been made public. His denial allowed him to ignore the shadow of death that threatened to swallow him and avoid media speculation. Despite growing extremely ill, Mercury continued to perform for his fans. In 1990, 1 year before his death, he recorded the song ‘The Show Must Go On’ which fits the themes and characters of this play perfectly. Much like some of the characters of the play, the disease had completely invaded Mercury’s body such that he was barely able to walk. Even so, he continued to perform. His story and ‘shows’ are not very different to those of the characters in ‘Angels in America’.
Watch either the Music + Lyrical video or the Angels In America Version.
The song, when heard in the context of the play, gets us thinking about AIDS, the implications of the disease, what it means to be a homosexual in our society, etc. Moreover, it asks us questions about performance. Despite the fact that this is a play, to what extent are the characters performing even within the play?
“Behind the curtain, in the pantomime
Hold the line. Does anybody want to take it anymore?
The show must go on,
The show must go on.”