Tony winner Elizabeth Ashley and company had hoped to bring her star turn as faded Southern belle Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie to Broadway, but complications with the world-wide producing rights prevented the move. Ashley will play her final performance, fulfilling a promise made to Tennessee Williams himself, Sept. 22 at Houston's Alley Theatre. The Hartford Stage production, running on the Alley Theatre's Large Stage, opened Aug. 29. Hartford Stage artistic director Michael Wilson (The Carpetbagger's Children) directs.
Ashley took home her Tony for Take Her, She's Mine which also starred Art Carney. She was Tony-nominated for Barefoot in the Park opposite Robert Redford and the 1974's revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Amanda is the sixth major Tennessee Williams' role Ashley has played.
Robert Sella, who created the pivotal role of Clifford in Side Man, plays Tom in the revival. Sella's other credits include Broadway's Cabaret (the Emcee), My Fair Lady (Freddie with Richard Chamberlin), The Night Governess and Mourning Becomes Electra (Orin Mannon). Also in the cast are Grant Show (Wit,, "Melrose Place") as the Gentleman Caller and Anne Dudek (Wrong Mountain, The Iphigenia Cycle) as the sheltered daughter Laura. Dudek played the role in the Hartford staging.
The Alley, for its part, sent Hartford The Carpetbagger's Children, which plays the Connecticut venue Sept. 6-23. The new Horton Foote drama, starring Hallie Foote, Roberta Maxwell, and Jean Stapleton, premiered at the Alley June 1.
Tickets to The Glass Menagerie are $50-$35. The Alley Theatre is located at 615 Texas Avenue. For reservations, call (713) 228-8421 or (800) 259-ALLE. The Alley Theatre is on the web at http://www.alleytheatre.com. For Playbill On-Line's Brief Encounter with Elizabeth Ashley, which discusses at length Ashley's associations with her role, Williams and Broadway, visit http://www.playbill.com/cgi bin/plb/feature?cmd=show&code=+108851.
— By Christine Ehren