Set in New York City in the mid-1980s, Act One introduces us to the central characters. Louis Ironson is a Jewish homosexual living with his lover, Prior Walter. When Prior contracts Aids, Louis, unable to cope with the strain, moves out. Meanwhile, closeted Mormon and Republican clerk Joe Pitt, is offered a major promotion by his mentor: Roy Cohn. As the play progresses, Prior finds himself being visited by ghosts and angels. Joe, realizing he might be gay, finds himself struggling to reconcile his religion with his sexuality; Louis deals with his remorse and guilt at abandoning Prior; Joe's mother Hannah moves to New York to look after Joe's wife, Harper; and Roy finds himself in hospital, his only companions being his nurse Belize, an ex-drag queen and good friend of Prior, and the ghost of Communist Ethel Rosenberg. Note: usually some actors play multiple parts.