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Tennessee Williams

A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur

October 1, 2018

What gives "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur" its special cachet in the Williams canon is that its storyline and heroine called Dorothea very much suggest a prequel to A Streetcar Named Desire set ten years earlier, when Blanche was still teaching and coping with life, though already needing liquor and pills to get her over her anxieties. Some enterprising theater group ought to schedule these two plays in repertory with the same actress in the leading role in each. [more]

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]

William Inge in Rep: Picnic & Come Back, Little Sheba

April 1, 2017

Though rather flawed in execution, there is much to enjoy in "Picnic" & "Come Back, Little Sheba": William Inge in Repertory. It is also revelatory in proving William Inge’s high ranking in the annals of dramatic literature. [more]

Turning Page

February 28, 2017

Much is made of her numerous Oscar nominations, and this reaches a wonderfully presented climax. She finally wins the award for Best Actress on her eighth nomination for the 1985 screen adaptation of Horton Foote’s play, "The Trip to Bountiful." “Is that per week?” “No. That’s for the whole thing,” was Geraldine Page’s agent’s incredulous reaction to the low salary that was offered for it. [more]

2 by Tennessee Williams: “27 Wagons Full of Cotton” & “Kingdom of Earth”

July 21, 2016

While the play can be a tour de force, Kathryn Luce Garfunkel is so one dimensional that her Flora has little weight. She exudes languidness and laziness, but fails to make Flora anything other than whiney and needy over the course of the play’s three scenes. Even after her encounter with Vicarro she doesn’t seem that much different. Holcomb seems miscast as the wily Latin though he does make Vicarro shrewd and knowing. Keller gives the most convincing performance as the sinister and abusive Jake. Unfortunately, the rhythms of the production do not make the play either the comedy that Williams subtitled it or the tense revenge drama that it also is. [more]

ON THE TOWN with Chip Deffaa …. for July 5th, 2016

July 5, 2016

I’ve always liked Andrew Keenan-Bolger's work. He was a memorable child actor, playing leads on Broadway in shows like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Seussical," when he was around 13 or 14 years old.  I admired  his sunny, open-hearted work then.  And he's even more successful today (at age 31)  as an adult--not every child actor can make such a transition. He conveys the same sort of buoyant spirit on stage now as he did when I first saw him in those  shows he did so well as a youth.. (His whole family is talented.  He and his sisters, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Maggie Keenan-Bolger, are all making their contributions to the arts.) [more]

Tennessee Williams 1982

March 1, 2016

Under the umbrella title "Tennessee Williams 1982" (the year of both play’s composition the year as well as that of playwright’s death), The Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of “A Recluse and His Guest” (to be published this summer) and the New York premiere of “The Remarkable Rooming-House of Mme. Le Monde,” (included in the 2008 volume, The Traveling Companion and Other Plays.) Not only are these unfamiliar plays uncharacteristic of the writer’s other work (a fable and a Grand Guignol), they have been given a surrealistic production by director Cosmin Chivu who directed the 2013 provocative revival of "The Mutilated" which demonstrated the viability of that black comedy once consigned to the scrap heap. Both plays in this doublebill are unified by their cynicism and their dark view of the world. While the plays may not be to everyone’s taste, the doublecasting of the two plays demonstrates remarkable versatility on the part of the talented cast, which is at times uneven. [more]

What the Horse Saw

January 23, 2016

The collaborative script is by the One Idiot troupe’s writers that include Jon Bershad, Aaron Burdette, Allie Kokesh, Kristy Lopez-Bernal, Nathan Min and Katelyn Trela. It’s a smart mash-up of plot points and characters that those familiar with Williams’ play will recognize and those who aren’t would still find funny due to the franticly goofy presentation. The writing is also characterized by an abundance of vulgarity and scatological humor that is relatively tame rather then being offensive. [more]

Drop Dead Perfect

August 29, 2015

Everett Quinton has found the ideal vehicle in the hilarious "Drop Dead Perfect" to revive the style of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company for which he originally found fame. Like the plays of the late Charles Ludlam plays, Erasmus Fenn’s Drop Dead Perfect parodies a specific genre using movie and television quotes and characters, situations lifted from famous melodramas, and sexual puns placed in new contexts. Here the new play is a satire of 1940’s and 50’s Bette Davis and Joan Crawford melodramas, with dollops of I Love Lucy which allows Quinton do sparkle as a Southern heiress with many scores to settle. Director Joe Brancato manages to keep the melodrama believable at all times and none of the quartet of actors goes beyond the histrionics inherent in the plot. [more]

The Country House

October 14, 2014

"The Country House" is an old-fashioned drawing room comedy about theater and film people inspired by the plays of Anton Chekhov. From Donald Margulies whose track record includes "Time Stands Still," "Brooklyn Boy," "Sight Unseen," "Dinner with Friends" and "Collected Stories," we have come to expect something more emotionally satisfying. Blythe Danner, Daniel Sunjata, David Rasche and cast are good company but do not make a very convincing case for this new play [more]

Editor’s Notes: 2014 Tonys Wrapup

June 12, 2014

Broadway had its big night when the 68th Annual Tony Awards, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, were given out at Radio City Music Hall hosted by the genial and charming Hugh Jackman for the fourth time. One of several of the evening's surprises was the four minute opening number in which Jackman hopped from the street to the stage to backstage and back on stage again, recreating Bobby Van's iconic number from the 1953 MGM musical, Small Town Girl, which went unidentified in the course of the evening. [more]

A Loss of Roses

May 16, 2014

While Dan Wackerman's production is always absorbing, the muddled psychology in the script and the debatable choices made by the actors keep the play from joining Inge's more important major plays. [more]