The event featured a proclamation from The Honorable Brian Moore, Mayor of Petersburg. Joining the Mayor onstage were Underwood's father and brother.
Emily Mann (Anna in the Tropics, Miss Witherspoon) directs Streetcar, which is produced by Stephen C. Byrd and Alia M. Jones of Front Row Productions, who were also behind the all-African-American revival of Cat On a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway in 2008.
Williams' tense, sexually charged classic will officially open April 22 at the Broadhurst Theatre. It is scheduled to play a limited run through July 22. Explore the Broadway history of A Streetcar Named Desire in the Playbill Vault.
The cast is led by two-time Golden Globe Award nominee Blair Underwood ("Sex in the City," "In Treatment") as Stanley, Nicole Ari Parker ("Soul Food," "Boogie Nights") as Blanche DuBois and two-time Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent, Jack Goes Boating, Anna in the Tropics) as Stella Kowalski.
For the new production, the creative team was granted permission from the Williams estate to drop the last name of Kowalski, so that Stanley's heritage is now African-American rather than Polish.
"I've made tiny little shifts and changes to make it accurate and authentic, to New Orleans and to black New Orleans — but I've made fewer than you would think, almost none," director Mann said to Playbill. "And, if we are doing it right, you won't, after a while, notice that at all. What happens is, it's so true to itself that you think Tennessee wrote it for this cast... The landscape of any Tennessee Williams play is the human heart, and I have a cast of people with heart."
Also appearing are veteran dancer-choreographer Carmen De Lavallade (Come Sunday, House of Flowers, "Carmen Jones") as Stanley and Stella's Mexican neighbor, Wood Harris ("Above the Rim," "Remember the Titans") as Blanche's suitor Mitch, Tony nominee Amelia Campbell (Waiting in the Wings, Our Country's Good), Aaron Clifton Moten, Jacino Taras Riddick ("White Collar," "Army Wives"), Matthew Saldívar (The Wedding Singer, Grease) and Count Stovall (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Driving Miss Daisy).
The creative team includes scenic designer Eugene Lee, lighting designer Edward Pierce, costume designer Paul Tazewell and sound designer Mark Bennett. Streetcar has choreography by Camille Brown and an original score by Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard.
A Streetcar Named Desire premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in December 1947, playing 855 performances before closing in December 1949. Directed by Elia Kazan, the original company boasted Jessica Tandy as Blanche, Marlon Brando as Stanley and Kim Hunter as Stella. The most recent Broadway revival — in 2005 at Studio 54 — starred John C. Reilly, the late Natasha Richardson and Amy Ryan. The Sydney Theatre Company staged a heralded, sold-out production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2009, with Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett as Blanche.
Visit www.Telecharge.com or phone (212) 239-6200. The Broadhurst Theatre is located at 235 West 44th Street.