barebones productions kicks off 11th season with Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire

StreetcarPhoto
New Hazlett Theater

November 2o – December 6
8 p.m. & 2 p.m.

Stella!

There is perhaps no other tiny yet mighty word more emblematic of modern theater than the one urgently shouted by Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Streetcar Named Desire.

Patrick Jordan, of barebones productions, wants new generations of theater audiences to discover that there is so much more to the play’s timeless meaning and depth. It is with this iconic masterwork that barebones kicks off its 11th season, marking the first local professional staging of Streetcar in nearly two decades. Williams aficionados and those new to the text alike will experience this classic modern drama in a fresh production featuring an exciting all-­star cast of local theater luminaries, along with a live score by Pittsburgh music veterans.

Making her barebones debut as Blanche DuBois is Tami Dixon, producing artistic director of Bricolage Production Company and creator of Southside Stories. Starring as the inimitable Stanley Kowalski is Pittsburgh native Patrick Jordan, who founded barebones productions in 2003. Jeffrey Carpenter, founder and artistic director of Bricolage, and Tami Dixon’s husband, plays Mitch (read Tami’s thoughts about sharing the stage for the first time in a substantial way with her husband). In her Pittsburgh stage debut, Jenna C. Johnson will portray Stella Kowalski.

Directed by Melissa Martin, the play’s powerhouse cast is rounded out by Organic Theater Pittsburgh founder Jaime Slavinsky, Ben Mayer, who runs shows with Arcade Comedy Theater, film actor Danti Poloni, Christopher Josephs, Cindy Jackson, Siovhan Christensen and Ryan Borgo. Augmenting the on-stage drama will be live music by Joe Grushecky and John Gresh, who will perform music with New Orleans roots, including songs by Fats Domino, The Mills Brothers and Willy DeVille, on select nights. On remaining nights, the production will feature original recordings by Grushecky and Gresh.

Theater-goers will be transported to post-WWII, in New Orleans’ legendary French Quarter. Penned by Williams in the pivotal year of 1947, Streetcar tells the poignant story of Blanche DuBois, “a fragile and neurotic woman on a desperate prowl for someplace in the world to call her own,” who is shunned by her Southern hometown. Unwilling to let go of the past and unable to face the present, a nervous and exhausted Blanche suddenly appears on the doorstep of her sister Stella. Tensions boil over and become unbearable as Blanche’s past catches up to her and her behavior enrages Stella’s husband Stanley.

With a strong sense of character, place, psychology and dialogue, Williams’ enduring play explores powerful human and societal themes such as reality, illusion, love, death, desire, fate, family and identity—subject matter every bit as timeless today as it was when it premiered on Broadway starring Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Hunter and Karl Malden in 1947.

“It is just as relevant today, and shocking, edgy and thought provoking, and it still hits chords. At barebones, we try to do shows that would not normally be seen in Pittsburgh, and we don’t want an entire generation of theater audiences to miss out on certain things,” says Jordan. “This script is so dense and we have great people in every role.”

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