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Barbara Walsh

Summer and Smoke

May 10, 2018

When Tennessee Williams started writing "Summer and Smoke," his working title for the play was "Chart of Anatomy," taken from a poem by Hart Crane. An anatomical chart becomes one of the very few props in the current Classic Stage Company and Transport Group revival of the 1948 play. Under the circumstances, the many players (a dozen in all) are often reduced to charades, as they describe a new gaudy hat, or a jigsaw puzzle, or gloves. For that matter there’s not really a set at all, only a large white platform in the center of the playing area, echoed by a large white rectangle hanging above--a kind of ceiling for the platform--and shortly after the prologue, six chairs, two of which will, at times, serve as a bench or a sofa. [more]

First Daughter Suite

November 4, 2015

Twenty-two years after writing "First Lady Suite," four linked musicals about Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson, composer-lyricist Michael John LaChuisa has written a follow-up. Entitled "First Daughter Suite," it also contains four mostly sung-through musicals and depicts six of the Presidents’ daughters as well as six of the First Ladies. The individual pieces vary in content, seriousness and musical style: opera, jazz, pop and Broadway. While the material is impressive, the first two musicals are very lightweight while the other two included in the second half of the evening are much more profound. However, what First Lady Suite does best is offer several veteran singing actresses a chance to appear in extremely meaty roles, turning each of their roles into a tour de force. This is the fifth collaboration between LaChuisa and director Kristen Sanderson who directed the original production of "First Lady Suite" which also premiere at the Public Theater. [more]

Three Days to See

July 31, 2015

Using a versatile cast of seven (Ito Aghayere, Patrick Boll, Marc delaCruz, Theresa McCarthy, Chinaza Uche, Barbara Walsh, and Zoe Wilson) who all play both Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan at some point in the evening, "Three Days to See" will impress you with the courage of this remarkable woman and remind you how grateful you should be for having your five senses unimpaired. While Keller’s early life was brilliantly dramatized in William Gibson’s "The Miracle Worker," that play and movie only dealt with Keller at age seven. "Three Days to See" tells the rest of the story as well as gives us insight into her beliefs, ideas and causes to which she was passionately devoted. [more]