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Spotlight on Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire

July 8, 2012

We took a trip through New Orleans by way of the Broadhurst Theatre this week to see the revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. This Tennessee Williams classic had the benefit of what is now called “color-blind” casting with the Broadway debuts of Blair Underwood as Stanley Kowalski and Nicole Ari Parker as Blanche DuBois.

This show transcends race and showcases the trials and tribulations of uneducated, class-confused, put-upon folks in the deep south. The chiseled Blair Underwood did an outstanding job as Stanley Kowalski complete with the hardcore shrieking of “STELLA…STELLA..STELLA!” after one particularly wrenching scene. Nicole Ari Parker as Blanche DuBois was a knockout. She delivered her lines with the fervor of a seasoned theatre actor and woman on the verge, and managed to seize the comedic moments of this intense piece to the delight of the audience.

Daphne Rubin Vega (of Rent fame) played the part of Stella with a vulnerability that was almost unsettling, yet when faced with the problems before her (most of her own creation) she proves that she can be a fighter. The part of Mitch, usually played by Wood Harris was filled during our performance by Morocco Omari and he didn’t miss a beat. He was rugged, charming, and held his own among the heavyweights on stage.

There is a special appearance by Carmen de Lavallade as the “Mexican Neighbor”. She brings a subtle wit, charm, and movement to the part as only this grand dame of the stage can, and the jazz stylings of Branford Marsalis add a certain magic to this production.

All in all it was a stunning performance and if I were you, I’d get there sooner rather than later. The show closes July 22. Bravo!

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