Pulitzers Play Little Rock: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE national tour

SND RobinsonIn December 1947, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway. Two years later, in December 1949, the national tour of the play came to Robinson Auditorium.

Judith Evelyn, who had originated the lead in Angel Street starred as Blanche DuBois.  Ralph Meeker, who had succeeded Marlon Brando on Broadway, played Stanley.  Jorja Curtright and Jim Nolan played Stella and Mitch, respectively.  Curtright would play Stella on Broadway in 1950 opposite Anthony Quinn and Uta Hagen.

Others in the cast were Eulabelle Moore, Peggy Rea, Harry Kersey, Victor Rendina, Jams Karen, Sidonie Espero, Angela Jacobs and Arthur Row.

The tour was directed by Elia Kazan with Jo Mielziner’s Broadway set and lighting design.  Lucinda Ballard was the costume designer, as she was on Broadway.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Pulitzer Prize for Drama being given. To pay tribute to 100 years of the Pulitzer for Drama, each day this month a different Little Rock production of a Pulitzer Prize winning play will be highlighted.  Many of these titles have been produced numerous times.  This look will veer from high school to national tours in an attempt to give a glimpse into Little Rock’s breadth and depth of theatrical history.

Pulitzers play Little Rock – Arkansas Rep’s CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF

cat20tin20roof-webMendacity hangs in the air through any production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.   Since it premiered on Broadway in 1955, it has been performed in Little Rock numerous times.

In 2010, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre presented this play in a languid, steaming production.  Directed by Robert Hupp, the cast was led by Trista Moldovan, Michael Ellison, and Joe Vincent.  Rep favorites Amy Tribbey and Jeff Bailey were in the cast as well as Kathleen Doyle, Brian Wallace, and Roger Jerome.

The design team included Mike Nichols (sets), Margaret A. McKowen (costumes), Matthew Webb (lighting), Jason Pruzin (sound) and Lynda J. Kwallek (props).

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Pulitzer Prize for Drama being given. To pay tribute to 100 years of the Pulitzer for Drama, each day this month a different Little Rock production of a Pulitzer Prize winning play will be highlighted.  Many of these titles have been produced numerous times.  This look will veer from high school to national tours in an attempt to give a glimpse into Little Rock’s breadth and depth of theatrical history.

2018-19 Arkansas Rep Season includes MENAGERIE, Alcott, Shakespeare, and Rock & Roll History

ark repEarlier this evening (2/19) the Arkansas Repertory Theatre announced its 2018-19 Season. Beginning in September, the new season exemplifies The Rep’s mission of producing diversified work of the highest artistic standards. “Variety is, once again, the watchword at The Rep,” said Producing Artistic Director John Miller-Stephany.

The Rep’s 2018-19 Season opens with one of the most beloved American plays of the 20th Century. Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie is a delicate memory play about family life set in a Depression-era St. Louis tenement. While rebellious Tom Wingfield dreams of running away from his tedious existence, his stubborn mother Amanda elegizes romantically about her Southern debutante past. And in the midst of their disputes, Tom’s timid sister Laura escapes from the cruelty of the world by retracting into an imaginary realm populated by her collection of fragile glass animals.  Directed by John Miller-Stephany, it runs September 5 to 23 with opening night on September 7.

Next is the stage adaptation of the classic film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?  When Joanna decides to surprise her parents with an impromptu introduction to her new fiancé John, she overlooks one small detail – he’s Black. Despite their self-professed liberal political leanings, Mr. and Mrs. Drayton find themselves scrambling when their beliefs are put to the test. But Joanna has yet another bombshell in store – she has invited John’s parents over for the evening as well. The script is by Todd Kreidler, adapted from the screenplay by William Rose. Directed by Arkansas Rep founder Cliff Fannin Baker, it runs from October 24 to November 11 with an opening night of October 26.

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has been a beloved novel since it was first published.  Every generation it seems to inspire a classic movie, and in the mid 2000s, it became a Tony-nominated musical on Broadway.  While the Civil War rages far away from their humble New England home, tomboy Jo refuses to conform to the demands made upon her by “polite society.” As her mother and sisters patiently await the return of their father from the battlefield, Jo’s contagious optimism endures in the face of romantic confusion and personal tragedy.  With the opening scene set at Christmas, it is fitting that Little Women is the Rep’s holiday musical.  The book is by Allan Knee with a score by Mindi Dickstein and Jason Howland.  Directed by John Miller-Stephany, it runs from December 5 to 30, with opening night of December 7.

Containing some of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches, As You Like It is a comedy about love, exile, wit, and disguises all set in the Forest of Arden.  Orlando loves Rosalind. Rosalind loves Orlando. But Rosalind is disguised as Ganymede – who’s a boy! And Phebe loves Ganymede – who’s really Rosalind. Yet Silvius loves Phebe. And Rosalind’s best friend Celia loves Orlando’s brother Oliver. But Oliver hates Orlando. And Touchstone lusts after Audrey. Unfortunately, no one much cares for Jacques. Celebrate romance as Shakespeare’s timeless comedy takes center stage at The Rep!  Directed by Giovanna Sardelli, it runs from February 6 to 24, 2019, with an opening night of February 8, 2019.

 

On December 4, 1956, in the studios of Sun Records in Memphis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis gathered to meet with legendary producer Sam Phillips. What happened next was pure rock and roll magic. Million Dollar Quartet shows what happens when a casual introduction of Lewis to Perkins unexpectedly evolved into an epic jam session of country, gospel and rock classics, captured on tape but not released until 1981. The show has a collection of hit songs that includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and “Hound Dog.”  The show is written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux from an original idea by Mutrux.  Directed by original cast member Hunter Foster (a Tony-nominated actor), the musical runs from March 27 to April 21, 2019 with opening night on March 29, 2019.

The season ends with the comedy Women in Jeopardy! Wendy MacLeod’s play tells the story of Liz who starts seeing a new man and throws caution (and her book club selections) to the wind. However, her friends can’t get over the fact that Liz’s latest beau is just plain creepy. What else are they supposed to think about a dentist with a Hannibal Lecter obsession and a bizarre collection of “antique” orthodontic contraptions in his basement? And then there’s the recent disappearance of his dental hygienist…  Directed by John Miller-Stephany, it runs from June 5 to 23, 2019. Opening night will be June 7, 2019.

Season Subscriptions are on sale now and start at $132. . For more information about Season Subscriptions, call The Rep’s Box Office at (501) 378-0405, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., or visit www.TheRep.org.

Founded in 1976, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is the state’s largest nonprofit professional theatre company. A member of the League of Resident Theatres, The Rep has produced more than 350 productions including 40 world premieres in its 377-seat theatre located in its historic building in downtown Little Rock.

My Favorite Banned Books

BBW15_518x800This is Banned Books Week.  Here are some of my favorite banned books.  Heck, they are some of my favorite books period.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  • A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Go to the Central Arkansas Library System or a bookstore and get a copy of one of these this week.  Or if you already own them all, read one this week.

BANNED BOOKS WEEK

ALA Freadom Slide 2013 (2)

This is Banned Books Week.  Here are some of my favorite banned books.  Heck, they are some of my favorite books period.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  • A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

STREETCAR and METAL in LR this weekend

Two Little Rock theatre groups present offerings to heat up cold winter nights this weekend.

THE METAL CHILDRENThe Weekend Theatre, in its 20th anniversary season, presents award winner Adam Rapp’s play Metal Children.  Rapp, who is one of the most prolific playwrights today, tells the story of a small town ripped apart by a debate over a book.

When a young adult novel about teen pregnancy is banned by the local school board, it ignites a fierce and violent debate over abortion, religious beliefs, and modern feminism. A directionless New York City author arrives in town to defend the book and finds that it has inspired a group of local teens to rebel in strange and unexpected ways. The book also inspires a swarm of teenage pregnancies, a horde of pig-masked vigilantes terrorizing the populace, a suicide, and at least one murder attempt. A timely and unforgettable drama about the failure of urban and heartland America to understand each other, The Metal Children explores what happens when fiction becomes a matter of life and death.

The play is directed by Justin A. Pike (who most recently directed Annie for the Royal Players in Benton).   The cast includes Don Bright, Wendy Darr, Anna Findley, Augusta Fitzgerald, Duane Jackson, Grace Lytle, David Monteith, Samantha Porter, Donna Singleton and Evan Tanner.

The production opened last weekend and continues on Fridays and Saturdays through January 26.  The shows take place at the Weekend Theatre located at 7th and Chester.

Precipice Theatre Prepares for Opening of 'A Street Car Named Desire'One of Little Rock’s newest theatre groups, Precipice Theatre, presents Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize winner A Streetcar Named Desire.  The world of Blanche, Stanley, and STELLLLLLLAAAAA are brought to life amid the sweltering heat of New Orleans. Things are hardly what they seem in a world where a paper lantern is used to transform a plain lightbulb and light may hide more than the darkness.

The show opened last night and continues on through Sunday, January 27.  There are two performances today (2pm and 7:30pm) and a matinee tomorrow at 2pm.  Doors open 30 minutes prior to the performance.   Streetcar is being performed at the Public Theatre located at 616 Center Street.  To reserve tickets, send an email to LRprecipicetheatre@gmail.com and let us know your name, number of seats needed, and which performance you will be attending.

The production has been directed by Paul Seminara, Cory Cotham and Jennifer S. Walker.  The cast includes Heather D. Smith, Ricco Ardemagni, Rachel Bland, Paul Seminara, Brent Wood, Caitlin Selacavich, Jennifer S. Walker, Steve Sullivan, Cory Catham, Andy Stanley and Tracy Crain.