Playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre located at 226 West 46th street. It runs two hours forty five minutes with two intermissions. The play closes on March 30, 2013.
It premiered in 1955 and was directed by Elia Kazan. The show starred Barbara Bel Geddes as Maggie, Ben Gazzara as Brick, Burl Ives as Big Daddy and Mildred Dunnock as Big Mama. Barbara was nominated for a Tony for her role and Elia for Best Director. The 1990 revival featured Kathleen Turner as Maggie, Charles During as Big Daddy and Polly Holliday as Big Mama. Kathleen and Polly were nominated for a Tony Award for their roles. Charles won the Tony Award, as Best Feature Actor in a Play. In 2003 Ashley Judd played Maggie, Ned Beatty as Big Daddy and Margo Martindale as Big Mama. Margo won a Tony for her role. The 2008 revival starred an all-African American production directed by Debra Allen. Terrace Howard made his Broadway debut as Brick. James Earl Jones played Big Daddy and Phylicia Rashad as Big Mama.
The 1958 screen adaptation starred Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives and Madeline Sherwood.
In 1976 a television version was produced starring Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Laurence Olivier and Maureen Stapleton. The American Playhouse produced the show on television in 1984. It starred Jessica Lange, Tommy Lee Jones, Rip Torn, Kim Stanley, David Dukes and Penny Fuller.
Tennessee Williams was the playwright. He won the Drama Critics Award and Tony Award for Best Play in 1951 for “The Rose Tattoo”. Tennessee won the Pulitzer Prize for drama for ”A Streetcar Named Desire (1948) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1955). In 1990 he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter.
Rob Ashford is the director. He won a Tony Award for choreography in 2002 for “Thoroughly Modern Millie”. As director he was nominated for a Tony Award in 2011 for “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. The other Tony Awards he has been nominated for were “Evita” (2012), “Promises, Promises” (2010), “Cry-Baby” (2008), “Curtains” (2007) and “The Wedding Singer” (2006). Rob has also been nominated for five Olivier Awards and won an Emmy for outstanding choreography.
Julie Weiss is the costume designer. She was nominated for a Tony Award in 1980 for “The Elephant Man”. Julie won an Emmy Award for “A Women of Independent Means” and “The Doll Maker”. Other Emmy Awards she was nominated for were “Little Gloria…Happy at Last”, “Mrs. Harris” and “Evergreen”. Oscar nominations were for “The Ring, Frida”, and “Twelve Monkeys”.
The light designer is Neil Austin. He won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award in 2010 for “Red”. In 2011 he won the Laurence Olivier award for ”The White Guard”.
Debra Monk won a Tony Award in 1993 for “Redwood Curtain”. In 1997 she was nominated for a Tony Award for “Steel Pier” and 2007 for “Curtains”. Debra won an Emmy Award in 1999 for her role as Katie Sipowicz in NYPD Blue.
Michael Park won an Emmy Award in 2010 and 2011 for the role he played in the soap opera “As the World Turns”.
The play takes place at the evening gathering at the Pollitt family estate in Mississippi. The room is Maggie and Bricks bedroom.
Maggie (Scarlett Johansson) is talking to her husband Brick (Benjamin Walker) about this and that. He has a cast on his leg. There is a strain in their relationship. They haven’t slept together in a while. Brick is drinking heavily. His drinking escalates when his friend Skipper kills himself. Maggie tells Brick that she was intimate with Skipper. She comes from a poor family. Maggie afraid if something happens to him, his brother will get everything. He keeps drinking and is waiting to hear the click in his head when he becomes numb to everything.
Bricks brother Gooper (Michael Park) is a lawyer. He lives in the next bedroom with his wife Mae (Emily Berg). They have five children and one on the way.
The walls are thin and they can hear what is going on or should I say what is not going on. Mae reports the information to Gooper’s mother Big Mama (Debra Monk). Brick is her favorite.
The family is celebrating Big Daddy’s (Ciaran Hinds) birthday and the news that he does not have cancer. Big Mama is thrilled. Big Daddy chases the family out of the room to have a talk with Brick about his drinking. He tells his son since I am well I am getting myself a mistress.
It is later revealed that Big Daddy has terminal cancer. Gooper is trying to gain control of the 49,000 acre farm. Maggie lies and says she is pregnant
There are hints made that Brick maybe bisexual. You wonder if Skipper killed himself because Brick rejected him or things did not go good with Maggie.
Ciaran Hinds and Debra Monk are fantastic in their roles. Ciaran is strong and convincing as Big Daddy.
Emily Bergl was believable as the weasel sister in law looking out for her own interest, edging her husband on.
The rest of the cast parts are not big but they still add to the play.
The weakest link was Scarlett Johansson. She was not seductive and her southern accent was hard to hear. It sounded like she had marbles in her mouth. I thought it was my hearing but I able to hear and understand the rest of the cast.
The show is still worth seeing. It is a classic play and still good after all these years.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
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