Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie

MARIN THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’S THE GLASS MENAGERIE

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JASSON MINADAKIS REIMAGINES MODERN CLASSIC TO CELEBRATE WILLIAMS’S CENTENNIAL,
FEATURES BAY AREA ACTORS ANNA BULLARD, CRAIG MARKER AND NICK PELCZAR

November 25 - December 18, 2011 | Opening Night, November 29

MILL VALLEY, CA—Marin Theatre Company presents The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams to celebrate the American playwright’s centennial from November 25 to December 18. Director Jasson Minadakis, MTC’s artistic director, reimagines this popular modern classic, including the addition of a fifth cast member, trumpet player Andrew Wilke, who will accompany the production with live music scored by Chris Houston. Opening night is on Tuesday, November 29.

“The tragedy of the Wingfield family in The Glass Menagerie is one of the greatest stories of the American stage and one of its saddest autobiographies,” say Minadakis. “I have long desired to explore Tennessee Williams’s brilliant and melancholy memory world of the Great Depression. By redefining the soundscape and claustrophobic physical world of Menagerie, I hope to find new reverberations that echo our own economically troubled time. This year’s centennial offers us the perfect opportunity to honor the genius and the pain of our greatest American playwright by reinvigorating one of his most famous plays.”

Over this holiday season, MTC celebrates the centennial of Tennessee Williams’s birth with a production of the play that began his meteoric rise in American theater – The Glass Menagerie. Premiering in Chicago in December 1944, the production was nearly closed after just one week due to poor audience turnout. However, enthusiastic reviews by critics Ashton P. Stevens and Claudia Cassidy spurred sold out performances and, three months later, Menagerie moved to New York. It won Williams the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and became his first Broadway success, opening at the Playhouse Theater in March 1945 and closing over a year later in August 1946 at the Royal Theatre.

A memory of Saint Louis during the 1930s, Menagerie is an emotionally devastating portrait of hope. Aspiring poet Tom Wingfield dreams of adventure while reluctantly supporting his overbearing mother Amanda and debilitatingly shy sister Laura. Pushed by his mother, he brings home a gentleman caller to try to coax his sister from her fragile private world. Menagerie “captures better than any play… the claustrophobic reality of family life, with its jostling interests, imposing expectations, burdensome concern and overwhelming love” (Los Angeles Times).

After Menagerie, Tennessee Williams went on to become not only one of America’s major mid-20th century playwrights, but also one of the most celebrated playwrights of all time. His plays are not only among the most produced in the world, but they also influenced an entire generation of contemporary American playwrights. MTC has long had a relationship with this seminal American playwright. The company first produced his work during its second season in 1968, when it was known as the Mill Valley Center for Performing Arts and performed in a golf clubhouse. That work was The Glass Menagerie. MTC staged A Streetcar Named Desire in 1973, Vieux Carré in 1984, and Streetcar again in 2008, the latter was directed by Minadakis. MTC also posthumously premiered Williams’s early plays Spring Storm (1999, world premiere) and Fugitive Kind (2003, professional world premiere) under the direction of then-artistic director Lee Sankowich and through special arrangement with the Williams’s archive at the University of Texas.

Popular Bay Area actors Anna Bullard (Equivocation, Killer Joe), Craig Marker (9 Circles, Equivocation) and Nicholas Pelczar (boom) all return to MTC for Minadakis’s revival of Menagerie, which also features Bay Area musician and actor Andrew Wilke playing live trumpet accompaniment scored by Chris Houston. Houston, a Berkeley-based pianist, composer and sound designer, has previously designed sound for 19 MTC productions. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company member Sherman Fracher makes her Bay Area debut in the famous role of Amanda Wingfield, which was originated by Laurette Taylor and has been played by such gifted actresses as Gertrude Lawrence, Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton, Julie Harris, Joanne Woodward, Katharine Hepburn and Rita Moreno.

FACTS & CALENDAR INFORMATION

WHAT
Marin Theatre Company presents THE GLASS MENAGERIE

WHO
By Tennessee Williams | Directed by Jasson Minadakis
Featuring Anna Bullard,* Sherman Fracher,* Craig Marker,* Nicholas Pelczar* and Andrew Wilke
* Member, Actor’s Equity Association

WHEN
November 25 – December 18, 2011
Opening Night: Tuesday, November 29 | Previews: Friday, November 25 - Sunday, November 27

Performance Days
Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat 8:00 pm
Wed 7:30 pm
Sun 7:00 pm
Matinees: Thu 12/8, 1:00 pm | Sat 12/3 & 12/17, 2:00 pm | Every Sun 2:00 pm

Check marintheatre.org or call the box office at (415) 388-5208 for exact performance dates and times.

WHERE
Marin Theatre Company | 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941

ABOUT
Celebrate the centennial of Tennessee Williams’s birth with MTC. We have long had a relationship with the seminal American playwright, not only recently producing his ubiquitous A Streetcar Named Desire, but also posthumously premiering Fugitive Kind and Spring Storm.

Awarded Best Play in 1945 by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle and acclaimed as Williams’s first great Broadway success, this emotionally devastating portrait of hope is a memory of Saint Louis during the 1930s. Aspiring poet Tom Wingfield reluctantly works in a warehouse to support his overbearing mother and debilitatingly shy sister. Pushed by his mother, he finds his sister a gentleman caller to try to coax her from her fragile private world. Don’t miss this beautifully reimagined modern classic.

TICKETS
$34–$55, details below (discounts available for Seniors and those Under 30)

Ticket Prices
Previews: $34 all
Opening Night & Sat Evenings: $50 side | $55 center
Tues: $34 | $38
Wed, Thu, Sun Evenings & Matinees: $39 | $44
Fri: $45 | $50

Discounts available:
RUSH tickets: $15, available one hour prior to show, based on availability
Under 30: $20, all performances
Senior discounts: varies by performance, please call
For group sales, contact Julie Knight, (415) 388-5200, ext. 3302

ENGAGE
“MTC Engaged” invites patrons to join MTC’s artistic staff, designers and casts in conversation. A member of MTC’s artistic staff (often with one or more members of the cast) hosts a Q&A talk back after every performance, except Saturday matinees and evenings, and Opening and Closing Nights.

MTC Engaged Special Events:
• Theater Lecture Series at Mill Valley Public Library – FREE public lecture by MTC artistic staff, 375 Throckmorton Ave., Tues 11/1, 7:00 p.m.,
• After Words – post-show interview with special guest: Sun 11/27, 2:00 p.m.
• Director’s Night – post-show conversation with director: Wed 11/30 & 12/14
• Perspectives – pre-show topical lecture: Thu 12/8, 12:00 p.m.

ACCESS
“MTC All Access” strives to make theater accessible to all audiences. For seeing impaired patrons, Large Print playbills are available at the box office at all performances, Digital playbills that are compatible with screen reader software are available online starting one week before the first performance of a production, and Braille playbills are available with two-weeks advance notice through partnership with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. To request a Braille playbill, call MTC’s Box Office, (415) 388-5208, or use the California Telecommunications Relay Service by dialing “711.” For hearing impaired patrons, amplified sound Listening Devices are available.

CONTACT
www.marintheatre.org | (415) 388-5208 | boxoffice@marintheatre.org

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

Tennessee Williams (Playwright) was one of America’s major mid-20th century playwrights and his plays are among the most produced in the world. MTC has staged a number of his plays over the past 45 seasons, including The Glass Menagerie (1968), A Streetcar Named Desire (1973 and 2008), Vieux Carré (1984), Spring Storm (1999, world premiere) and Fugitive Kind (2003, professional world premiere). He is best known for his plays The Glass Menagerie (New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award), A Streetcar Named Desire (Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Pulitzer Prize for Drama). Other works for stage include American Blues, Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo (Tony Award for Best Play), Camino Real, Orpheus Descending, Suddenly Last Summer, Sweet Bird of Youth, Night of the Iguana, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, The Seven Descents of Myrtle, In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel, The Two Character Play and The Eccentricities of a Nightingale. Williams also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter honored Williams with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This year, 2011, marks the centennial of his birth. He died in 1983.

Jasson Minadakis (Director) is in his sixth season as artistic director of MTC. Last season, he directed Edward Albee’s Tiny Alice, the world premiere of Seagull and the west coast premiere of Happy Now?. In past seasons, he directed Equivocation, for which he won the 2010 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Director, Sunlight, Lydia, The Seafarer, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, A Streetcar Named Desire, said Saïd, Love Song and The Subject Tonight is Love. He will direct Othello, the Moor of Venice later this season. As artistic director of Actor’s Express Theatre Company, he directed The Pillowman, Bug, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Echoes of Another Man, Killer Joe, Burn This, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?, Blue/Orange and Bel Canto. As producing artistic director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, he directed Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Chagrin Falls, The Beard of Avon, Arcadia, Nocturne, Fuddy Meers, Lovers & Executioners, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Betrayal, The Weir, Waiting for Godot, The Misanthrope, A Chance of Lightning, The Three Musketeers, Dracula, The Color Wheel and 19 productions of Shakespeare. Regional credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Hamlet at Georgia Shakespeare, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square and Bedroom Farce at Wayside Theatre. The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing and Southern Voice named him Best Director of 2004. He has won “Production of the Year” awards for The Pillowman and Bug at Actor’s Express, Copenhagen at Playhouse on the Square and Chagrin Falls at Cincinnati Shakespeare.
Anna Bullard (Laura) has appeared at MTC in the regional premiere of Equivocation, world premiere of Magic Forest Farm and Killer Joe. Her recent credits Titus Andronicus and Mrs. Warren’s Profession at Cal Shakes, as well as the world premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Ten Chimneys at Arizona Theatre Company. Other Bay Area credits include productions at A.C.T., San Jose Rep, TheatreWorks, Magic Theatre and Porchlight. Her regional credits include productions at Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Humana Festival and Laguna Playhouse, as well as the NYC Fringe and Dorset Theatre Festivals. Bullard received her BA from Whitman College. She spent the 2004-05 season at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where her acting apprenticeship included a backstage crew position as Sherman Fracher’s dresser for a production of A Christmas Carol.

Sherman Fracher (Amanda) makes her MTC debut in The Glass Menagerie. She has been a company member at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for nine seasons and has appeared in Much Ado About Nothing, Arm and the Man, The Ideal Husband, Romeo and Juliet, A Streetcar Named Desire, Chagrin Falls (Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role) and more. Her other regional credits include A Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre of Louisville; Macbeth and A Christmas Story at Georgia Shakespeare; Side Man, Private Eyes, Sight Unseen and Three Days of Rain at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati; and Bug at Actor’s Express. She appeared in the film Tattered Angel with Lynda Carter. Sherman resides in Northern Kentucky with her husband, actor/director Drew Fracher. She is a registered yoga instructor in the Kripalu tradition.

Craig Marker (Jim) has appeared at MTC in the world premieres of Seagull and 9 Circles, regional premiere of Equivocation and Bus Stop. His Bay Area theater credits include The Circle and Curse of the Starving Class at A.C.T.; Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet at Cal Shakes; As You Like It, The Foreigner, Iphigenia at Aulis and The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow at San Jose Rep; Macbeth at Shotgun Players; Third, Theophilus North, Brooklyn Boy, Dolly West’s Kitchen and Shakespeare in Hollywood at TheatreWorks; Wirehead, First Person Shooter and The Story at SF Playhouse; The Mousetrap and The Marriage of Figaro at Center REP; Cymbeline and Love’s Labour’s Lost at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival; and The Shape of Things and The Persians at Aurora Theatre Company. Marker appeared in David Edgar’s Continental Divide at Berkeley Rep, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Barbican Theatre (UK) and La Jolla Playhouse.

Nicholas Pelczar (Tom) has appeared at MTC in the regional premiere of boom. Other Bay Area credits include War Music, Rock ‘n’ Roll and A Christmas Carol at A.C.T.; Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Othello, Titus Andronicus, Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well and The Importance of Being Earnest at Cal Shakes; 4 Adverbs with Word for Word; Hamlet and As You Like It at Pacific Repertory Theatre; A Midsummer Night’s Dream at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival; and Marius and Dublin Carol at Aurora Theatre Company. He is a graduate of the A.C.T. MFA acting program.

Andrew Wilke (Trumpet) makes his MTC debut in The Glass Menagerie. His Bay Area theater credits include children’s theater productions at Berkeley Playhouse, The Music Man at Starstruck Theatre; A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Something’s Afoot and Oliver at Pinole Community Theater; and Sophisticated Ladies at CSU East Bay. He is featured on recordings by A Class Act, Bobby Joe Ebola & the Children MacNuggets, James Nagal, Pomplamoose and Jack Conte. Currently studying with Erik Jekabson, Wilke previously had two years of classical study with Jeff Biancalana (San Francisco Symphony). He received a BA in trumpet performance with jazz emphasis from CSU East Bay.

ABOUT MTC
Celebrating our 45th Anniversary this season, Marin Theatre Company is the Bay Area’s premier mid-sized theater and the leading professional theater in the North Bay. We produce a six-show season of provocative plays by passionate playwrights from the 20th century and today in our intimate 231-seat proscenium theater. We are committed to the development and production of new plays by American playwrights, with a comprehensive New Play Program that includes at least one world premiere each season, two nationally recognized annual playwriting awards, new play readings and workshops by the nation’s best emerging playwrights and a leadership position in the National New Play Network. Our numerous educational programs serve more than 6,000 students each year.

PRESS CONTACT
Sasha Hnatkovich, Communications Director
(415) 388-5200, ext. 3313 | sasha@marintheatre.org

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