Fiery Actress Profiled in Theresa Gambacorta's La Magnani, Starting March 22 in NYC | Playbill

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News Fiery Actress Profiled in Theresa Gambacorta's La Magnani, Starting March 22 in NYC La Magnani, a one-woman show celebrating the life of Anna Magnani — one of Italy's most revered actresses and a favorite of Tennessee Williams — written and performed by Theresa Gambacorta, begins a run March 22 at The Arclight Theatre in Manhattan.

Gambacorta performed the work in 2004 at the Gene Frankel Theatre in Manhattan. Magnani starred in the film, "The Rose Tattoo."

"With her irreverently messy black hair and eyes whose dark circles framed a vibrant and haunting expression unmatched in its intensity, Anna Magnani carved out an extraordinary cinematic career that defied the glamorous image of her rivals," according to production notes. "Her unique way of simultaneously communicating strength and volatility made her a screen icon."

Theresa Gambacorta developed La Magnani in a six-week workshop under the mentorship of Actor's Studio member and director Elizabeth Kemp in 2004. Crafting the play from biographical and historical information, primarily available in Italian, she wove the language throughout her text.

The show was selected for the Estrongenia Solo Voce Festival, and she was also invited to perform it at New York University's Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimo. Last year she presented La Magnani at the International Poets' Forum in Pittsburgh.

Magnani's first major film was "Do You Like Women" (1941), directed by Vittorio De Sica. Her breakthrough was Roberto Rossellini's "Roma, città aperta" (1945) ("Open City"), a major Italian "neorealist" film of the postwar years. She won an Academy Award for her performance in 1955's "The Rose Tattoo," a movie version of the play by Tennessee Williams. Williams wrote the part for her; Maureen Stapleton originated it on Broadway. Her last film was Federico Fellini's "Roma" (1972). She died in Rome of pancreatic cancer in 1973. La Magnani's creative team also includes set designer Shawn Lewis, lighting designer Jorge Arroyo and sound designer David Pinkard.

In addition to her work in New York theatre, Theresa Gambacorta has appeared in television commercials and independent film. She appeared in Italian director Marco Puccione's film, "Sell Your Body Now," which brought her the award for Best Actress at The Turin Film Festival.

Previews for La Magnani begin at the Arclight Theatre (152 W. 71st Street between Broadway and Columbus) from March 22 toward an opening March 29. Performances play Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets are $25. For reservations, call Ticket central at (212) 279-4200 or visit

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