A water leak in the Strand Theatre, the new troupe's usual home, necessitated the change. Performances of the Tennessee Williams classic about a domineering former belle and her salty son and fragile daughter will begin May 17 rather than May 3 — at the Scottish Rite Temple in downtown Shreveport.
Danny Fogger, executive director of The Strand, informed River City Rep that leaking air conditioning ducts had caused damage to the theatre's ceiling directly over the main orchestra section. The extent of damage has caused The Strand to cancel its theatrical bookings through mid-June while major repairs are made to the air conditioning system and the affected ceiling, according the River City Rep announcement.
The seven-performance run featuring Tony Award winner McKechnie as Amanda Wingfield plays through May 25, and ticket sales are brisk, said artistic director Patric McWilliams, who also directs the play.
The Glass Menagerie also features Logan Sledge as Tom, Ellen Lindsay as Laura and Youree McBride as The Gentleman Caller.
The casting of McKechnie (a Best Actress Tony winner from Broadway's original A Chorus Line) is a major coup for the sapling Equity troupe in Shreveport, the only resident union-affiliated theatre in the northern part of the state. The creative team also includes composer/sound designer Kermit Poling, lighting designer Tristan Decker and set and costume designer McWilliams.
For reservations, call (318) 424-6805 or visit www.rivercityrep.org.
The director said he contacted McKechnie through friends and colleagues; he had heard Amanda was a role she wanted to play one day.
The Glass Menagerie will conclude the company's 2006-07 season, and a new slate begins in October.
With this production of The Glass Menagerie, River City Rep will institute the "Southern Theatre Series." Each year the company will explore a classic play written by a Southern writer or a play "firmly situated in the Southern mystique." Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes was a 2006 title for the troupe. Plays by Williams, Hellman, Beth Henley, Lanford Wilson, Carson McCullers and new writers will be represented.
River City Rep began in spring 2006 and operates under an Equity guest artist contract. The goal, McWilliams said, is to work under an Equity Small Professional Theatre contract by fall 2007, when the new season begins.
A one-weekend run of A Little Night Music was a hit for the company Jan. 4-7, 2007.
That shortness of that run represented the troupe's effort to take baby steps in its first season. The Chicago office of Actors' Equity was thrilled that a new union company was forming, McWilliams said, but gave the advice to start slowly — to walk before running — so that the business could take root.
The not-for-profit River City Rep bills itself as North Louisiana's only Equity-affiliated theatre. McWilliams pointed out that there are seven amateur groups operating in the Shreveport-Bossier area.
McWilliams, a New Yorker who taught theatre at his Louisiana alma mater, nearby Centenary College, for 25 years, came up with the idea of the resident theatre after he left the college in 2005. He discussed the idea with his friends and colleagues in the area, and they all carried the idea forward. River City Rep has a governing board.
McWilliams splits his time between New York, Louisiana and freelance design and directing jobs around the country.
For more information about River City Rep, visit www.rivercityrep.org.