Monday, April 23, 2012

A Streetcar Named Desire Opens on Broadway

The 8th Broadway revival of Tennesee Williams' classic play A Streetcar Named Desire has opened on Broadway.  The reviews are in and they are decidedly mixed. The physical production is, by all accounts, fantastic, but the acting is not.

Marilyn Stasio of Variety Magazine and Ben Brantley of the New York Times sum up this dichotomy best. Stasio wrote, "Nicole Ari Parker, Blair Underwood and Daphne Rubin-Vega, the stars of Emily Mann's striking production of A Streetcar Named Desire, offer no subtle psychological insights into Blanche, Stanley and Stella. But the physical beauty and sexual magnetism they bring to these iconic characters would surely delight Tennessee Williams -- along with auds who might appreciate some kicks with their culgure. The only downside to the production coup of looking good (witness the handsome set, gorgeous lighting, nice costumes, and great sounds) is that much of this beauty is only skin deep."

Brantley, providing some historical context, writes, "The Poker Night was once the working title for what would become Tennessee Williams' most celebrated work. So perhaps it's appropriate that a poker game provides one of the few moments approaching excitement in the torpid revival of the play that was renamed A Streetcar Named Desire. That moment occurs early enough into Emily Mann's production to fan hopes that the show might strike the occasional spark." But, sadly, that spark never materializes.

I guess the designers will have to be happy to receive the show's only Tony nominations.

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