Maggie the Cat Is Alive!: Broadway's Music Box Gets a Tin Roof Oct. 9

News   Maggie the Cat Is Alive!: Broadway's Music Box Gets a Tin Roof Oct. 9
 
On Oct. 9, Ashley Judd will don the theatre's most famous slip as she bares Maggie the Cat's claws in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Broadway's Music Box Theatre.

The production—the fourth version of Tennessee Williams 1955 play of greed, lust and mendacity to grace Broadway—also stars Jason Patric as Maggie's indifferent, drunkard husband Brick; Ned Beatty as Brick's blunt, blustery bully of a father, Big Daddy; Margo Martindale as the cowed, but loving Big Mama; Michael Mastro as Brick's neglected brother, Gooper; and Amy Hohn as Gooper's baby-making, grasping wife Mae.

Official opening is Nov. 2. The production is directed by Anthony Page. Bill Kenwright produces the limited engagement.

Cat was first staged on Broadway in 1955, directed by the late director Elia Kazan. The family drama takes place in the mansion of Southern mogul, Big Daddy, who is accustomed to being the master of all he surveys, but will soon be felled by cancer—a fact his family is keeping from him. Meanwhile, his favorite, but fallen son Brick and Brick's beautiful and frustrated wife Maggie have come to celebrate Daddy's 65th birthday. Brick has neglected his wife's bed in favor of the bottle every since a long-ago, fateful encounter with his best friend and football teammate—a suicide. As a result, he and Maggie have gone childless and heirless—an important point to Big Daddy—while Gooper and Mae keep turning out little "no-necked monsters."

The play is firmly divided in three acts and is typically played with two intermissions—a novelty these days. The first act is commonly thought to belong to the actress playing Maggie, while Big Daddy dominates the volcanic second act. The third act has gone through several changes throughout the years. (Kazan infamously had Williams rewrite it in 1955, against the playwright's better instincts.) The current mounting will use the script employed in the 1974 Broadway production.

Daughter of famed singer Naomi Judd, Ashley Judd was recently seen as Tina Modotti in the Miramax film "Frida." Her other motion picture credits include "Ruby in Paradise," "Natural Born Killers," "A Time to Kill," "Kiss the Girls," "Double Jeopardy," "Someone Like You," "High Crimes" and "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." Judd made her New York stage debut in the 1994 Roundabout Theatre production of Picnic. Patric has starred in such films as "The Lost Boys," "After Dark, My Sweet," "Rush" and "Your Friends and Neighbors." The actor will make his Broadway debut in the Williams play.

Beatty — who reprises his Olivier Award-nominated West End role — is also primarily a film actor with such credits as "Deliverance," "Network," "Superman," "The Big Easy" and "Nashville" behind him.

Martindale appeared off-Broadway in Always Patsy Cline and Steel Magnolias. Mastro is best remembered as the jazz musician with the garbled diction and thick glasses in Warren Leight's Sideman. Hohn is a member of Off-Broadway's Drama Dept. And has appeared in the company's The Country Club.

Director Page received a Tony Award for his direction of the Broadway revival of Ibsen's A Doll's House Other credits include the world premiere production of Edward Albee's Occupant, the current West End production of The Master Builder starring Patrick Stewart and the Bill Kenwright 2001 production of Cat on A Hot Tin Roof with Brendan Fraser, Frances O'Connor, Ned Beatty, Gemma Jones, Abigail McKern and Clive Carter.

The role of Maggie was originated onstage by Barbara Bel Geddes in the 1955 production. Elizabeth Ashley played the part in the 1974 Broadway revival and Kathleen Turner was Broadway's most recent Maggie the Cat in 1990. Burl Ives famously created the part of Big Daddy, with the folk singer forging a new career as a dramatic actor in the process. Fred Gwynne was the bellowing patriarch in 1974 and Charles During won a Tony for the part in 1990. As for Brick, slightly less famous players have filled the troubled, former football player's shoes. Ben Gazzara was the first to drown his sorrows. Keir Dullea was Ashley's husband and Turner tempted Daniel Hugh Kelly.

Ashley Judd and Jason Patric in <i>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</i>.
Ashley Judd and Jason Patric in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Photo by Jean-Marie Guyaux
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