Produced on St. Louis Rep's mainstage back in 1983, Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie is currently being revived there. (Williams' family drama is, in fact, set in Depression-era St. Louis.) The drama is directed by (Ms.) Timothy Near, who has been artistic director of San Jose Rep for 10 years.
Beginning previews the same day, several states away, is another production of Menagerie starring Robert Sean Leonard as Tom. Leonard, who appeared in the Kenneth Branagh film version of Much Ado About Nothing, starred on Broadway in recent revivals of Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come! and Candida. His co-stars at CenterStage in Baltimore are Pamela Payton-Wright (Amanda), Katie MacNichol (Laura) and Jon Brent Curry (Jim). Payton-Wright played Laura in Menagerie's 1975 Broadway revival. Tim Vasen directs, with Tony-winning designer Tony Straiges creating the set, Jeremy Stein the lighting and Tom Broecker the costumes. This mainstage production, at the Center Stage of Baltimore's Head Theatre, opened March 19.
Since good things come in threes, we should mention that Portland Stage Company of Maine is offering its own Glass Menagerie, opening April 3 and running to April 20. That mounting, staged by Jonathan Moscone, stars Caitlin Clarke (Teaneck Tanzi) and Jennifer Rohn (The Kentucky Cycle) as Amanda and Laura, with John Leonard Thompson as Tom and Jim O'Brien as Jim. The production will also feature original music composed for the accordion by Gina Leishman.
Winner of the NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, The Glass Menagerie tells of faded belle Amanda Wingfield, her discontented son, Tom; her shy, fragile daughter, Laura; and the Gentleman caller whose presence upsets the already unstable family unit. Most recently, Julie Harris played Amanda on Broadway. At Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Amanda will be played by Robin Mosely, who played Sara on Broadway in The Sisters Rosensweig and Hapgood in Off Broadway's Hapgood. Ian Kahn, who has worked at Hartford Stage, Wilma Theatre and NY's Ubu Rep, plays Tom. Michael Butler is the Gentleman Caller, Pilar Witherspoon is Laura. Designing the show will be Carolyn L. Ross (set), B. Modern (costumes), and Max DeVolder (lighting).
Williams' semi-autobiographical drama first opened in Chicago in 1944 and then on Broadway March 31, 1945. The dramatist would go on to write A Streetcar Named Desire, The Rose Tattoo, Vieux Carre and Suddenly Last Summer.
This is director Near's ninth show at St. Louis Rep; others have included The Little Foxes, Buried Child and True West.
For tickets ($9-$39.50) and information on The Glass Menagerie at Repertory Theatre Of St. Louis on Edgar Road, March 12-April 11, call (314) 968-4925. For tickets ($24-$29) and information on Menagerie at Baltimore's Center Stage, March 14-April 27, call (410) 332-0033. For tickets ($18-$29) and information on The Glass Menagerie at Portland Stage Company, call (207) 774-0465.
--By David Lefkowitz