Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Streetcar Named Desire - Review - Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center

In staging a well known play, there is always high expectations from the audience, since they are very familiar with the show. I am pleased to say the production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Performing Arts Center at Rhinebeck lived up to my expectations. Directed by Lou Trapani, the show was well staged and enthralling to watch.

Especially of note were the performances of Victoria McCarthy (Eunice) who was animated and interesting to watch (I had the pleasure of working with her in Grease last fall), Eileen Keeffe (Stella) who was a charming onstage presence, and Barbara Rankin (Blanche) who did a amazing job making Blanch both sympathetic and showing the gradual unraveling of her sanity.

I also enjoyed the performances of Chris Tilson (Young Collector) (he was also wonderful in Assassins), David Rodrigez (Stanley), and the rest of the talented cast.

The set was a wonderful static set that perfectly set the mood and period of the piece. The costumes were unremarkable - fitting the time and place beautifully. The show piece of the set was a beautifully painted backdrop by Richard Prouse (He also did gorgeous drops for Oliver! and The Music Man)

A Streetcar Named Desire is a famous American play written by Tennessee Williams for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948. The play is as an icon of its era, as it deals with the culture clash between two symbolic characters, Blanche DuBois—a pretentious, fading relic of the Old South—and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, inner-city immigrant class. Streetcar came shortly after Williams's first big success of 1945, The Glass Menagerie.

In 1951, a film of the play, directed by Elia Kazan, won several awards, including an Academy Award for Vivien Leigh as Best Actress in the role of Blanche. In 1995, it was made into an opera with music by Andre Previn and presented by the San Francisco Opera. (more on Streatcar)

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Community Theater in the Mid Hudson Valley of New York. Information on shows, auditions, and our general adventures onstage, backstage and in the audience.