Tennessee Williams’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, directed by Austin Pendleton and starring Kristine Nielsen, Annette O’Toole, Jean Lichty, and Polly McKie is being given a rare revival at St. Clement’s. French for heartbreak, Creve Coeur is the name of a park in St. Louis and the women in this story all are suffering from some form of loss. Creve Coeurwas written as a one-act play in 1976 as a companion piece to Demolition Downtown, a short work that had been published in Esquirein 1971. It was given a reading in 1977 by Craig Anderson at the Hudson Theatre Guild, and in June 1978, titled Molly, Shirley Knight starred as Dorothea with Jane Alexander as Helena in London. Knight reprised her role when the show opened at the Hudson Guild Theatre in January 1979, but the play only lasted a month.
Set in St. Louis, 1937, we meet four very different women. First up is the middle-aged civics teacher, Dorothea (Jean Lichty), a Blanche DuBois type before Streetcar, who longs and believes because she gave herself over to the high school principal T. Ralph Ellis, that this is a real relationship. Her good-hearted, hard-of-hearing roommate, Bodey (an animated Kristine Nielsen) wants desperately to hook up Dorothea with her twin brother, Buddy, despite the fact Dorothea is animatedly against this. Dorothea (who originally hails from the Deep South) does her exercises while awaiting a phone call from Ellis, as Bodey prepares for a matchmaking picnic at Creve Coeur. When Dorothea’s colleague, Helena (Annette O’Toole), enters, sparks fly. Bodey knows Helena is up to no good and the high-strung, manipulative Dorothea is keeping secrets from everybody. When their upstairs neighbor, Sophie Gluck (Polly McKie) descends, madness is apparent. Sophia is a manic-depressive, German immigrant mourning the loss of her beloved mother. When Helena reveals to Dorothea that Ellis has just become engaged in the society section of the morning newspaper, Dorothea realizes that Buddy, as unappealing as he is, may be her only chance for love.
Nielsen, O’Toole, and McKie all play their roles like caricatures of women and it doesn’t always work. Nielsen is hysterical with her quick one-liners and really knows how to deliver a line while managing a sincerity to it all. We feel for her. O’Toole’s role is like Rosemary Sydney in Inge’s Picnic. I wanted to see more of the pain she hides underneath her snooty attitude. Lichty is the perfect Blanche but speaks way too softly.
Austin Pendleton brings some umps to this play, but it really is a one-act and it seems to drag on just a little bit longer than it should.
Harry Feiner’s set is seriously wonderful, but it seems lacking when matched against the dialogue. It is overstuffed, but not garish enough; however, his lighting is perfection. Beth Goldenberg’s period costumes really work for each character.
This is a play every Tennessee Williams fan will and should see. Though I found this one act lacking in fleshing out these characters, it did make me want to see a play about four women, in different decades, dealing with never having the prospect of being married, having a family, and being alone. Times have changed, but the way we have been raised to be in a society where marriage is the norm still takes its toll. It could be highly interesting to see the evolvement of women in society and how circumstances have changed.
A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur: La Femme Theatre Productions at St. Clement’s,423 West 46th St. until Oct. 21st.
Broadway’s A Doll’s House Meticulously Stunning Revival Soars Like a Birdie Above That Clumsy Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
For a revival to find its footing, it has to have a point of view or a sense of purpose far beyond an actor’s desire to perform a part, whether it suits them or not. It needs to radiate an idea that will make us want to sit up and pay attention. To feel its need to exist. And on one particular day in March, I was blessed with the opportunity to see not just one grande revival, but two. One was a detailed pulled-apart revolutionary revival of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House that astounded. The other, unfortunately, was a clumsy revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that fell lazily from that high-wired peak – not for a lack of trying, but from a formulation that never found its purpose.
Theatre News: Smash, I Need That, Good Night, Oscar, Funny Girl, This Beautiful Lady and In The Trenches: A Parenting Musical
The NBC television series Smash is coming to Broadway for the 2024-2025 season. Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron and Steven Spielberg will produce. The musical will feature a book co-written by three-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice and Tony winner Bob Martin. Tony and Grammy winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Some Like It Hot). The team earned three Emmy nominations for their songs from the “Smash” series will pen the score, which will feature numbers from the TV show.
Five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman (New York, New York) will direct and Tony nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse will choreograph.
The series was created by Theresa Rebeck and Spielberg, launch the series. Spielberg is also one of the co-producers of Good Night, Oscar, which begins performances at the Belasco Theatre on April 7.
Official dates, theater, creative team and casting for the “Smash” stage musical will be announced at a later date.
Speaking of the Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Theresa Rebeck, Danny DeVito and Lucy DeVito are set to star in her new play I Need That at the Roundabout. The new comedy will be directed by Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel which will open at the American Airlines Theatre in October. The cast will also include Ray Anthony Thomas. … Also newly announced for Roundabout’s new Broadway season is a spring 2024 revival of Samm-Art Williams’ 1980 Tony-nominated play “Home.” Tony winner Kenny Leon will direct
Speaking of Good Night, Oscar, Doug Wright’s play was named finalist for 2023 new play award by The American Theatre Critics Association. The other six finalists for the 2023 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award include: Born With Teeth by Liz Duffy Adams, the ripple, the wave that carried me home by Christina Anderson, Sally & Tom by Suzan-Lori Parks, Spay by Madison Fiedler and
Swing State by Rebecca Gilman.
Paolo Montalban and Anne L. Nathan are joining Lea Michele in Funny Girl as Florenz Ziegfield and Mrs. Strakosh. Montalban and Nathan will replace original cast members Peter Francis James and Toni DiBuono, who take their final bows on March 26th.
Elizabeth Swados’ This Beautiful Lady will play at La MaMa this May. Previews will begin May 5 for the Off-Broadway run ahead of the May 8 press opening, with performances set through May 28 in the Ellen Stewart Theatre.
In The Trenches: A Parenting Musical, with book, music, and lyrics by Graham & Kristina Fuller, will receive industry readings on Friday, March 24th at 11am & 3pm at Ripley Grier Studios. The readings will be directed by Jen Wineman (Dog Man: The Musical) and will feature music direction by Rebekah Bruce (Mean Girls) and arrangements by Dan Graeber, Graham & Kristina Fuller.
The cast of In The Trenches features Amanda Jane Cooper (Wicked), Jelani Remy (The Lion King, Ain’t Too Proud), Christine Dwyer (Wicked), Caesar Samayoa (Come From Away), Max Crumm (Grease, Disaster!), and Vidushi Goyal.Join two bleary-eyed young parents as they trudge through the trenches and discover their new post-baby identities. In an evening of new-parent greatest hits, a foul-mouthed toddler zeroes in on “the most dangerous thing in the room”, tap dancing towards bleach, knives, and tide pods; a chronically-overlooked younger sibling sings the “second child blues”; a mom trio celebrates yoga pants in an R&B love song to the “official mom uniform”; dad discovers he’s not the “ice-cream and movie-night cool parent” but rather the “do your homework real parent” amid a kiddo sugar-crash; and mom retrieves a sticky, hair-covered pacifier from the floor of a LaGuardia bathroom while her baby screams bloody murder and her flight boards without her.
Jason Robert Brown, Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Sutton Foster, Lillias White and More To Perform at TheaterWorksUSA Spring Gala
TheaterWorksUSA, currently presenting the hit family show Dog Man The Musical at New World Stages, will host its annual Spring Gala on Monday, April 24 (cocktails begin at 6 PM) at The Current at Chelsea Piers.
100% of the net proceeds from the event will support our mission to create exceptional, transformative theatrical experiences that are accessible to young and family audiences in diverse communities across New York City and North America.
This year TWUSA will honor Lisa Chanel (TWUSA Board Chair 2019-2022), Andréa Burns (Award-winning Broadway actress & educator), Peter Flynn (TWUSA alumnus and award-winning director, writer, and educator), and Holly McGhee (Founder and Creator of Pippin Properties, New York Times best selling author). The event will feature appearances by some of Broadway’s biggest stars, including Jason Robert Brown, Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Kevin Del Aguila, Sutton Foster, Lillias White and more.
On behalf of TheaterWorksUSA’s Board of Directors, we are thrilled to celebrate the people who have generously supported our mission, making it possible for us to bring high-quality theater to young audiences of all backgrounds throughout the country. We look forward to recognizing Lisa, Andréa, Peter, and Holly publicly at this very special event. – Tracy A. Stein, Board Chair
It’s a privilege to honor these individuals for playing such an important role in the work we do. Their vision, creativity, and ongoing commitment to our mission is truly something to celebrate. They are very much a part of our TheaterworksUSA family.- Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director
TheaterWorksUSA (Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director; Michael Harrington, Executive Director) has led the Theater for Young and Family Audiences movement in New York City and across North America for over half a century. At TWUSA, we believe that access to art—and theater, in particular—is vital for our youth. Since 1961, the 501(c)3 not-for-profit has captured the imaginations of 100 million new and veteran theatergoers with an award-winning repertoire of over 140 original plays and musicals. Acclaimed alumni include Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Disney’s Frozen), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), Jerry Zaks (The Music Man), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton), Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America), and Chuck Cooper (Tony award-winning actor, The Life). WWW.TWUSA.ORG
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