The New York Times reports that Sewanee: The University of the South, which holds the intellectual rights to the Williams drama, may proceed with legal action to halt performances of Rosenthal's irreverent work, which transferred to Off-Broadway's Soho Playhouse following an award-winning run as part of the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival. Press notes for the work state, "Blanche DuBois has neither aged nor left New Orleans. She was there when Katrina hit; she was sent to the Superdome; she was evacuated to Shreveport and entangled in the heartless bureaucracy of FEMA," and so her sex and alcohol-fueled refugee story begins.
In a cease-and-desist letter, lawyers for Sewanee state that in order for Rosenthal to argue "fair use" defense of the property, he needs to "target the copyrighted work at least in part," pointing out that Rosenthal's 70-minute solo work is "at best . . . a comedic political commentary directed at the events surrounding the Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans."
Rosenthal's lawyers are preparing a response to Sewanee, and state that Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire will continue performances at the Soho Playhouse. The run is scheduled to conclude March 15.
Tickets for Blanche Survives Katrina, priced $30, are available by phoning (212) 691-1555 or by visiting SoHoPlayhouse.
For information on the work, visit BlancheSurvivesKatrina.