PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: The Glass Menagerie — Reflections in a Golden Era

By Harry Haun
27 Sep 2013

Zachary Quinto
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Quinto plays against the poetry inherit in the role of The Boy Williams, never lingering lovingly on the words. "There's a lot of love in it, but I just have to trust that the love is there, and it will come across — for sure. The hardest thing about the role is that I'm always walking the line, that line of balance between the poetry and the character and making sure I never lose sight of one in favor of the other. That's the challenge of Tennessee, I think, in a lot of ways — especially in this play."

Never ones to rest on their Tony laurels, director Tiffany and Bob Crowley started working on Menagerie's costumes and complex set design two weeks after their Tony wins for Once — on a train trip from Penn Station to Boston to check out a possible launching pad. "Essentially, we designed the show on the train — literally," Crowley beamed. "We both knew the play really well and loved it from an early age. I read it when I was 15 and wanted to design it all my life, and it just came together."

Judging from the results, it was pretty deep read. "We talked very abstractly about memory and how you put it on stage — how you put characters who are completely isolated in time. Tom says, in the opening speech, this is not a realistic play so we talked about how to represent that and how that might be marooned in black space, like they're floating in time. We talked poetically and tried to find a metaphor for that."

Hence, Laura's comings and goings in the play — through the living-room sofa — seem to be the most logical and natural thing in the world. (Ordinarily, your mind would argue that, but here it seems like a fanciful and quite acceptable flourish.)

"The play is so exquisite, and there's so much information given to you about their status and their lack of everything, yet Amanda brings that huge culture with her from the South. You don't need very much. You need great actors and a great script. You do not need a lot of scenery." True to those words, the rise-and-shine breakfasts and the disastrous dinner with The Gentleman Caller are handily dismissed in mime.