Williams Portrait 8 by Tenn Starts Hartford Stage's 40th Season, Oct. 2-Nov. 2

News   Williams Portrait 8 by Tenn Starts Hartford Stage's 40th Season, Oct. 2-Nov. 2 Tony Award winners Amanda Plummer (Agnes of God) and Elizabeth Ashley (Take Her, She's Mine) star in the Hartford Stage production of 8 by Tenn — a collection of rarely produced works by Tennessee Williams, Oct. 2-Nov. 2.
Amanda Plummer, one of the stars of  Hartford Stage's 8 By Tenn.
Amanda Plummer, one of the stars of Hartford Stage's 8 By Tenn.

Annalee Jefferies (What Didn't Happen), Jennifer Harmon (The Dinner Party), Kevin Geer (Side Man), Denny Dillon (Enchanted April), Curtis Billings (The Play About the Baby), Helmar Augustus Cooper (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Remo Airaldi (Camino Real) are also in the cast. The actors play multiple roles in the various plays.

Kicking off the Connecticut stage's 40th anniversary season, 8 by Tenn will be directed by artistic director Michael Wilson (Enchanted April, The Carpetbagger's Children). The collection of one-act plays will feature a number of world premieres from the American scribe. The show will be performed in two separate evenings — denoted as Rose or Blue — in a program of four plays.

The Rose night — officially opening Oct. 8 — features the world premieres of The Palooka, The One Exception, Now the Cats With Jewelled Claws and Portrait of a Madonna. The Blue program — opening Oct. 10 — features The Lady of Larkspur Lotion, Something Unspoken, The Chalky White Substance and The Gnädiges Fräulein.

The design team includes Jeff Cowie (sets), Howell Binkley (lighting), David C. Woolard (costumes) and Fitz Patton (sound).

The Palooka is about a boxer in the twilight of his career who mentors a younger boxer; Portrait of a Madonna centers on an impoverished Southern belle who is convinced a former lover is breaking into her apartment; The One Exception marks Williams’ final stagework and centers on a once-famous artist heading to an asylum; and Now the Cats With Jewelled Claws is a wild play that focuses on two catty women conversing until interrupted by two male hustlers and the restaurant’s manager. The Lady of Larkspur Lotion is a short play wherein two dreamers combat their tough landlady in a New Orleans rooming house; in Something Unspoken, a haughty woman vies for office with the Confederate Daughters while confronting her feeble secretary about relationship; The Chalky White Substance is a futuristic fantasy that visualizes the breakdown of human relationships following a catastrophic event; and The Gnädiges Fräulein, "the generous young woman" (literally translated from German) tells the tale of a gossip columnist who hits the jackpot when she visits a boarding house and meets its tenants, among them the title character who is a former nightclub singer.

Tickets to 8 by Tenn at Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street in downtown Hartford, CT are available by calling (860) 527-5151. For more information, visit www.hartfordstage.org.

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