Yet another little-known Tennessee Williams play, Tiger Tail, is receiving its New York premiere. The production, directed and produced by Harry Mastrogeorge, will be staged at the Harold Clurman Theatre on 42nd Street for a run July 7-July 30.
Tiger's story is not unfamiliar. Williams adapted the 1970 play from his 1955 screenplay for the film "Baby Doll." The movie and play tell the tale of Archie Lee, a down at heel Mississippi cotton gin owner with a child bride who refuses to share her husband's bed until she is of age. After Lee crosses rival gin owner Silva Vaccaro, the Sicilian exacts his revenge by seducing the nymphet.
The film -- which featured Karl Malden as Lee, Carroll Baker as Baby Doll and Eli Wallach as Vaccaro -- inspired an outcry from religious leaders when first released. The Clurman production will star Shae D'lyn, best known for her portrayal of "Jane" on the sitcom "Dharma & Greg." Also in the cast are Joe Whipp as Lee and Silas Weir Mitchell as Silva.
In recent years, obscure works from Williams' seemingly bottomless chest of neglected scripts have found a place on the stage. All but unknown works from the playwright's early years have been given premieres, and previously reviled plays from his tortured last years have received new productions and new respect. The most high profile venture has been the London and Broadway mountings of Not About Nightingales, a previously unproduced 1938 prison drama by Williams. Discovered by actress Vanessa Redgrave and starring her brother Corin, it went on to reap a Tony nomination as best new play.
Other recent Williams mounting include the WPA's New York premiere of the 1975 work The Red Devil Battery Sign and Cincinnati Playhouse's premiere of The Notebooks of Trigorin. For information of Tiger Tail, call (212) 869-6130.
-- By Robert Simonson