Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Quiet Man

In our current play, Stones In His Pockets, one of the characters, Mickey, is proud of the fact that his claim to fame is that he's one of the only living extras from the John Wayne film, The Quiet Man. My mom is a huge fan of the Duke, but I never was growing up, so I decided to do a little digging into this film.

The Quiet Man stars John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, and was directed by John Ford. It's based on a Saturday Evening Post short story, and the story is pretty simple. Sean Thornton (Wayne) is an American boxer who returns to the land of his family, Ireland, to reclaim his family's farm. He meets Kate (O'Hara) who's spirited and beautiful, and the sparks fly. They fall in love. Kate's older brother, Will (played by Victor McLaglen), is pugnacious and unhappy about his little sister wants to marry this foreigner who outbid him for some land. Wacky hijinks ensue and they all live happily ever after. The film was released to rave reviews in 1951-1952 (so we're actually celebrating the 60th anniversary of the film) and was nominated and won a bunch of Oscars.

The trailer actually gives a ton of plot away so check it out if you're not familiar with this classic film.

Fun Facts About The Quiet Man:

1. This was the second of five films that Wayne and O'Hara did together.

2. At the film's conclusion, after the credits, we see Kate and Sean standing in their garden waving good-bye. Maureen O'Hara turns to John Wayne and whispers something in his ear, provoking a priceless reaction from Wayne. What was said was known only to O'Hara, Wayne and director John Ford. In exchange for saying this unscripted bit of text, O'Hara insisted that the exact line never be disclosed by any involved parties. In her memoirs she says that she refused to say the line at first as she "couldn't possibly say that to Duke", but Ford insisted, claiming he needed a genuine shock reaction from Wayne. The line remains a mystery to this day.

3. During the scene where Wayne first kisses O'Hara, she slaps his face. When they blocked the blow in rehearsal, she broke a bone in her hand. Since the movie was being filmed in sequential order, she couldn't wear a cast to fix the broken bone. Yow!

4. John Wayne and John Ford decided to play a prank on Maureen O'Hara during filming. They chose the sequence where Wayne drags O'Hara across the town and through the fields. Before shooting the scene, Wayne and Ford kicked all of the sheep dung they could find onto the hill where O'Hara was to be dragged, face-down, on her stomach. O'Hara saw them doing it; with the help of several friends, she kicked the dung off the path, only to have Wayne and Ford kick it back on. O'Hara and her friends kicked it off again, and Wayne and Ford kicked it back. This went on and on until right before the scene was shot, when Wayne and Ford got in the last kick. According to O'Hara, "Duke had the time of his life dragging me through it. It was bloody awful. After the scene was over, Mr. Ford had given instructions that I was not to be brought a bucket of water or a towel. He made me keep it on for the rest of the day. I was mad as hell, but I had to laugh too. Isn't showbiz glamorous?" And she worked with Wayne on 3 more pictures?! Brave lady!

5. Charles Fitzsimons and James Fitzsimons were Maureen O'Hara's real life younger brothers. In this film, James was billed as James Lilburn, though he was later better known as James O'Hara. Barry Fitzgerald and Arthur Shields were also brothers in real life, and Francis Ford was John Ford's elder brother. Ken Curtis, later of Gunsmoke fame and newly married to John Ford's daughter Barbara, has a small role as the accordion player.

6. Wayne brought his four children along on location, and Ford gave them parts in the film's race scene.

7. The famous kissing scene between Wayne and O'Hara is shown in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, when E.T. watches television. E.T. is interested and moved by the scene, his telepathic contact with Elliot causes the boy to re-enact it while he is at school.

8. John Ford's real birth name? It's Sean Aloysius O'Fearna.

There's also apparently a ton of Quiet Man fans, Quiet Man tours, and even a fan club.

(Facts culled from IMdB, WIkipedia, and Amazon)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Irish (American) Soda Bread

At Dragon, we take our opening night galas seriously. Lots of yummy treats, lots of drinks, much laughter. Opening night of Stones In His Pockets was no exception. Since we could have an obvious theme, we opted to trot out some yummy Irish inspired treats. Our stage manager, Elizabeth, made some awesome Irish car bomb cupcakes that were to die for. Our Executive Artistic Director, Meredith, made what I'm now calling hot cheesy Guinness dip. With bread? So good. And I made some good old fashioned Irish soda bread. Though I chose not to go authentic and instead made the Americanized version that most people are familiar with. Turns out that real soda bread doesn't have raisins. It MIGHT have caraway seeds, but even that would be considered fancy. Since a few people asked, and it wasn't exactly an old family recipe, here's the recipe I used for the bread on Friday night. It's incredibly easy to make (trust me, I rarely cook.) It's definitely best to serve it soon after baking - it's meant to eat same day and doesn't keep very well.

yield: Makes 1 loaf

active time: 20 minutes

total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Mix in raisins.

Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Facts About County Kerry, Ireland

Our last play of 2011 opens this week at the Dragon Theatre and it's Marie Jones' smash hit, Stones In His Pockets. The story takes place in County Kerry, Ireland, and follows two local Irishmen who are cast as extras in a big Hollywood movie filming in the area. Because Ireland plays such a key role in this story, I thought it would fun to look up the location, County Kerry, to see what it's like. Here's some interesting facts about the region:
  • County Kerry is located in southwest Ireland

    • The population of the county is 145,048 according to the 2011 census.
    • Kerry is the 5th largest of the 32 counties of Ireland by area and the 13th largest by population.
    • Uniquely, it is bordered by only two other counties: County Limerick to the east and County Cork to the south-east.
    • The capital of Kerry is Tralee. The diocesan see is Killarney, which is one of Ireland's most famous tourist destinations.
    • The Lakes of Killarney, an area of outstanding natural beauty, are located in Killarney National Park.
    • The tip of the Dingle Peninsula is the most westerly point of Ireland.
    • Because of the mountainous area and the prevailing south-westerly winds, Kerry is among the regions with the highest rainfall in Ireland.
    • Kerry means the "people of Ciar" which was the name of the pre-Gaelic tribe who lived in part of the present county. The legendary founder of the tribe was Ciar, son of Fergus mac RĂ³ich. In Old Irish "Ciar" meant black or dark brown, and the word continues in use in modern Irish as an adjective describing a dark complexion.The suffix -raighe, meaning people/tribe, is found in various -ry place names in Ireland. The county's nickname is the Kingdom.
    • In the 17th and 18th centuries, Kerry became increasingly populated by poor tenant farmers, who came to rely on the potato as their main food source. As a result, when the potato crop failed in 1845, Kerry was very hard hit by the Great Irish Famine of 1845–49. In the wake of the famine, many thousands of poor farmers emigrated to seek a better life in America and elsewhere. Kerry was to remain a source of emigration until recent times. Another long term consequence of the famine was the Land War of the 1870s and 1880s, in which tenant farmers agitated, sometimes violently for better terms from their landlords.
    • In the 20th century, Kerry was one of the counties most affected by the Irish War of Independence (1919–21) and Irish Civil War (1922–23). In the war of Independence, the Irish Republican Army fought a guerrilla war against the Royal Irish Constabulary, and British military. Violence between the IRA and the British was ended in July 1921, but nine men, four British soldiers and five IRA men, were killed in a shootout in Castleisland on the day of the truce itself, indicating the bitterness of the conflict in Kerry.
    • Famous sightseeing stops in Kerry: Killarney National Park, Ardfert Cathedral, Muckross House and Gardens, St. Mary's Cathedral, the Skellig Islands, the Dingle Peninsula, and the Blasket Centre.

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    This Is Halloween!

    We're big fans of Halloween here at the Dragon so I couldn't let the holiday pass without a blog post.

    Two fun videos for you today.

    The first is a video trailer for playwright Colette Freedman's upcoming novel, The Thirteen Hallows, which comes out in early December. Colette, as you know, wrote our recent play, Sister Cities, and co-wrote the novel with NYT bestselling author Michael Scott, author of the wildly popular Nichola Flamel fantasy series. Check out the trailer (I had no idea they did movie style trailers for books now - kinda fun!)

    The second is a Halloween classic - The Nightmare Before Christmas, just because I love it.

    Happy Halloween!

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    About Female Writers

    In her interview, Colette Freedman touched on a hot topic in the theatre community - the lack of female playwrights being produced. It turns out it's not just the theatre industry though, a recent study has shown a decline in female writers in television.

    In the 2006-2007 television season, 35 percent of the writers of broadcast network, prime-time programs were women, according to an annual study by San Diego State University's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. In the 2010-2011 season, that number had dropped by more than half, to 15 percent.
    Maureen Ryan, from AOL TV, decided to investigate this by talking to some people in the industry. Her anecdotal findings are interesting.

    Any thoughts? Do we think women just aren't submitting? Are they avoiding the industry altogether? Are they being overlooked and ignored? I will say, I find it interesting that, quite without any planning, the bulk of Dragon's 2011 season was written by women. Theresa Rebeck. Ellen McLaughlin. Colette Freedman. Marie Jones. There are women writing scripts worth producing. How many female writers were produced on Broadway this year?

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    Playwright to Playwright: Our Interview With Colette Freedman

    Our Artist in Residence, Jeffrey Lo, recently had the chance to talk to playwright/author/all around fascinating person Colette Freedman, about her play, Sister Cities, how she got into writing, and what it means to be a woman writer in America.

    Jeffrey: Hi Colette. Can you tell us briefly about your writing background? At what age do you think the writing seeds were planted into your brain and when do you realize you wanted to start taking it seriously?

    Colette: The first play I ever wrote was in fifth grade when I penned my eleven year old masterpiece, An Archie Bunker Thanksgiving. Okay, I realize that totally dates me, but it was a fun play with every kid in the class playing a 70's sitcom character. And it was a big class, so one of the families coming to dinner at the Bunker's ended up being the entire clan from Eight is Enough. I was in a Jewish youth group and used to write plays for them as well. But I had always leaned more towards acting than writing. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my acting dream and, along the way, discovered a lack of great women's parts in the theatre. After Chekhov and Shakespeare and Ibsen – yes I’m a classics snob - I felt left out. I didn't have a voice as an actress... so I started to write my own plays. At first I did them under a pseudonym (Naomi Lefkowitz for those who are interested), but as soon as people started to want to produce them, I came forward. And I haven't turned back. I still love acting and find that sometimes I'm better discovering characters as a writer from the inside out, I originated Austin in Sister Cities, but now I've turned to novels and screenplays so I'm constantly learning and expanding as well.

    Jeffrey: That's great! Why did you originally write under a pseudonym and how was it when theaters began contacting you with interest in producing your work?

    Colette: I wrote under a pseudonym because I was working with a great theatre company called Circus Theatricals and I wanted my work judged fairly. We had a ten minute play festival and I was on the reading committee. So many of the plays were crap that I decided to write one myself. It was called First to the Egg and was about a nerdy sperm convincing a self-important egg that he was 'the one'. Everyone loved it and it was my first professionally produced play. After that, the company's artistic director, Jack Stehlin, was very generous producing my work and he produced several of my shows. We're still in touch and he actually just commissioned me to do a modern film adaptation of Uncle Vanya for him so it all comes around - Chekhov to Chekhov!

    Jeffrey: So at what point did you start writing full lengths and how did Sister Cities come about?

    Colette: I wrote Sister Cities in 2005 because my best friend, Jill Gascoine, who was a famous actress in England, told me that she was retiring from acting and would not act again unless she played a corpse. So I started with the idea that I needed to write a play about a corpse which made me give the corpse a back story and a family. I had an aunt with ALS (more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and always thought it would be one of the most tragic ways to die.

    Also, I love writing female characters, so I gave her four very different daughters who don't like each other very much; yet, must come together to fulfill their mother's wishes.

    Before Sister Cities I wrote two full length plays which were produced: Iphigenia at Aulis, which was a modern day adaptation and Deconstructing the Torah.

    Jeffrey: When you were acting in the first production of Sister Cities, what are some things that you discovered during the process?

    Colette: How much fun it was! As a writer, you observe everything. You watch and you listen; yet, as an actress smack dab in the middle of it, I got to use my other senses too: taste, touch, smell. It informed the character of Austin and, in turn, informed the play.

    Jeffrey: Looking through the Sister Cities website, performing the play at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival seemed like a real blast. How did the idea to bring it to Edinburgh come about and how was the overall experience?

    Colette: The Edinburgh Festival was, by far, one of the best experiences of my life. I strongly recommend it to any writer, actor, direct, producer - anyone involved in the theatre. I had acted in a few plays with Sidewalk Studio Theatre and the guys who ran it, Kurt and Marc, absolutely loved Sister Cities and wanted to take the play there. So, the entire original cast... plus the NYC Dallas went and it was amazing. I cut the play down to an hour. All of the plays had a 10 minute load in, 55 minute run and 10 minute load out, talk about guerilla theatre!

    We performed for 30 days straight from 6:45 to 7:45. We performed at The Gilded Balloon, which was mostly a comedy house; however, we got great audiences for being a play. Five star reviews. The rest of the time we saw loads of theatre, met some amazing people, took in the sites and took full advantage of the bar/social scene. It was a different world there and I want to go back.

    Jeffrey: Earlier this season, Dragon produced Theresa Rebeck's Bad Dates. At around the same time - her great keynote speech regarding women playwrights was getting a lot of attention. Can you tell us a little bit about your early experiences about being a female playwright and if you feel your gender is still making a difference when trying to get your work produced today?

    Colette: I loved Rebeck's speech regarding women playwrights; however, I'm a big fan of producing the best theatre out there, no matter which gender writes it. I make it a point to try to nurture young women playwrights because, frankly, I think the problem is that there are not enough of them. There's always been a huge gender disparity in Hollywood: women screenwriters, TV directors, executives, etc. So the fact that there are so few produced women playwrights doesn't surprise me, and it doesn't depress me; rather, it inspires me to work harder and try to make my plays as good as possible so that it is impossible NOT to produce them.

    If you want to hear more about her upcoming projects, her work on Sister Cities, or more about her amazing Archie Bunker Thanksgiving play, Ms. Freedman will actually be attending opening night of our production of Sister Cities. A ticket to the opening night show and gala will also allow you to meet the playwright and you can ask her about her Jackie Collins play and upcoming book! See you at the show!

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    The Writer Behind Our Next Show, Sister Cities

    One of the things that I enjoy about Dragon Productions Theatre Company is the variety of programming. We can go from a behemoth American classic like A Streetcar Named Desire, to a smaller, more indy play like Sister Cities, and back to an Olivier winning, Tony nominated former West End smash hit like Stones In His Pockets, and it all makes sense. The other cool thing about Dragon, is that we generally don't produce the shows you're familiar with, or the shows you've seen a dozen times before. Even with Streetcar, the number of people who came into the theatre who said "you know, I've only seen the movie, I hear the play is really different" was a really large number. And sometimes we find plays and playwrights who are just really getting to the top of their game.

    We think that we've found one of those hidden (but about to become hugely discovered) gems with Colette Freedman and Sister Cities. The show was a big hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008 and it featured actress Jill Gascoine as well as the playwright herself. There's a fun video with Colette and Jill from the Fringe Festival up on YouTube that you can check out.

    Colette has a number of projects in the works right now. She's just co-written a play with long time novelist Jackie Collins. The play is called Jackie Collins' Hollywood Lies and Jackie plans to mount it as a touring show rather than launching it on Broadway. There's a great piece on the show in the LA Times that explains Jackie's vision. Colette also has a novel coming out this December that she co-wrote with author Michael Scott, author of the popular Nicholas Flamel series. Their joint work, The Thirteen Hallows, is slated for release in December this year. You can check it out on

    Colette, however, is not to busy to talk to us Dragon folks. We've got an exclusive interview coming out shortly so check back in a couple of days for that, as well as an exciting announcement regarding Sister Cities.

    More About Tennessee

    Our production of Streetcar just closed so of course a week later I receive two theatre magazines in the mail with pieces profiling Tennessee Williams.

    This month's issue of American Theater Magazine has some interesting articles on Tennesee Williams. There's a look at some current productions of Streetcar currently in production, as well as a really great look at the many, many writings of Mr. Williams. There's also a general overview and look at some of the early works of Mr. Williams.

    This month's Theatre Bay Area magazine also has an interesting piece on Tennessee Williams, but it's not yet up on their website. I guess you'll just have to join TBA to read all about it (or, you know, ask me nicely to borrow the issue).

    In other Williams news, it was just announced that James Franco has dropped out of his planned performance on the Broadway revival of Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth. This would have been Franco's first appearance on Broadway. Nicole Kidman is signed to play the female lead. The production is being directed by David Cromer (The House of Blue Leaves) and doesn't have a production date as of yet. A shame, I think Williams would have approved of James Franco. Or am I the only person who thinks this?

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Latest Work From Rebeck to Hit Broadway

    Theresa Rebeck, author of our earlier production, Bad Dates, has been a busy bee. I mentioned earlier that she's got a television show coming out this fall and now she's got a new show, Seminar, being prepped for a Broadway opening. And she's lining up an all-star cast: Alan Rickman (swoon), Lily Rabe, and Hamish Linklater are signed to the show, which begins previews in October.

    The show's blurb is kind of intriguing:

    "four young writers who are thrilled to be participating in a private seminar taught by the brilliant but unpredictable Leonard (Rickman), an international literary legend. But as Leonard deems some students more promising than others, tensions arise. Sex is used as a weapon, alliances are made and broken, and it's not just the wordplay that turns vicious…"
    Who wants to send me to New York this fall? I promise I'll write a good review for you in return. ;)

    Thursday, August 11, 2011

    Large Versus Small Theatre

    It's been interesting on the internet this week because there's been some discussion of large versus small theatre. The first piece that I ran across was entitled "Is intimate theatre 'decadent'?" From the article:
    One thing that really intrigued me, though, was Greig's contention that intimate theatre – the kind of one-on-one, small-scale experiences that have been such a feature of recent Edinburghs, and indeed the subject of two festivals at London's BAC – is "decadent" in these austere times. It is, he argued, a resource-heavy theatre that makes its experiences available to the few rather than the many. Whereas "there is an app," he said, "that you can open in any city in Europe, western Asia, Australasia and North and South America. It is called a pros-arch theatre. Like a lot of people in theatre, I used to see the traditional proscenium arch stage as elitist. Now I regard it as rather democratic. A lot of people can see it. It's much more available than having to go to a special place on your own, wearing headphones."
    In contrast, Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, writes this on the Huffington Post:

    Smaller arts organizations are typically those which serve unique segments of our communities (the elderly, the disabled, communities of color, rural communities, etc.). Many of our nation's greatest artists were first exposed to the arts through these more specialized arts organizations.

    Smaller organizations are also more likely to champion new adventuresome work. While larger organizations are challenged to risk large sums on a ground-breaking project, smaller organizations, with smaller project budgets, are more often the crucibles for new exciting artists and art forms.

    Smaller organizations also provide a classroom for young artists who learn their craft by experimenting with less expensive and less visible projects. We would not have a large cadre of experienced artists without the smaller organizations that gave them their training and first opportunities to create work.

    It would be disastrous for the future of the arts if large arts organizations -- with larger staffs and greater brand recognition -- sucked all the resources and left smaller organizations without funding.

    We need to train arts managers of small organizations to market their offerings, to identify potential donors, and to develop relationships so they can compete with their larger counterparts for funding. And we need our professional donors, foundations and major individual philanthropists, to recognize the vital role played by smaller organizations.

    Fascinating. Obviously, working at Dragon, I fall on the side of Kaiser. I think the most important thing he mentioned was the opportunity for young artists to develop - this is the heart of Dragon's mission statement, and it's something we take seriously. It's hard enough to be a "working artist" in this world. We try to use our limited resources to mentor younger or, in my case, maybe not young but career-transitioning, artists and arts managers so they have a solid foundation and work ethic, to give them some exposure, and to help them bolster their resumes however they need to.

    To support this part of our mission, next year we're going to give a new works staged reading festival a shot. There are a ton of talented writers in the Bay Area and young playwrights need to be able to develop too. Jeffrey Lo is spearheading the effort and is getting support for other Dragon staffers. We're currently accepting scripts from writers located in the Bay Area. We have the submission requirements on our website. As this new series progresses, we'll be taking a look into the whole process, from start to finish, so check back on this site for future updates!

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Streetcar Headed Back to Broadway

    A headline caught my eye this morning that I thought was so appropriate. There's a new version of Streetcar headed to New York in 2012. Nicole Ari Parker (Soul Food, Remember the Titans) will play Blanche DuBois and Blair Underwood (L. A. Law) will play Stanley Kowalski. This marks the Broadway debut of both Parker and Underwood. The production is set to be helmed by Emily Mann, and will feature original music by jazz musician (and NOLA resident) Terence Blanchard.

    I think it sounds pretty interesting. It's being produced by the same team who did the 2008 production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Terrence Howard, and later Sanaa Lathan. I was really bummed that I missed that as it sounded fantastic. Any Dragon fans happen to catch it while it was up?

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Production History of Streetcar

    A Streetcar Named Desire Production History

    The original Broadway production workshopped at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut (see poster to the left) a few weeks before it opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on December 3, 1947.

    Produced by Irene Mayer Selznick

    Directed by Elia Kazan

    The original Broadway cast

    • Jessica Tandy as Blanche DuBois
    • Kim Hunter as Stella Kowalski
    • Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski
    • Karl Malden as Harold “Mitch” Mitchell
    • Rudy Bond as Steve Hubbell
    • Nick Dennis as Pablo Gonzales
    • Peg Hillias as Eunice Hubbell
    • Vito Christi as Young Collector
    • Richard Garrick as Strange Man
    • Ann Deere as Strange Woman
    • Gee Gee James as Negro Woman
    • Edna Thomas as Mexican Woman

    Selznick originally wanted to cast Margaret Sullavan and John Garfield but settled on Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy, who were virtual unknowns at the time. Brando was given car fare to Tennessee Williams’ home in Provincetown, MA, where he not only gave a sensational reading, but did some house repairs as well. Tandy was cast after Williams saw her performance in a West Coast production of his one-act play Portrait of a Madonna. Tandy won the Tony for Best Actress in a Play in 1948.

    Later in the run, Uta Hagen replaced Tandy and Anthony Quinn replaced Brando. It's interesting to note that Hagen's portrayal of Blanche was NOT directed by Kazan - and as a result, this new production refocused the story back on Blanche and pulled it away from Stanley.

    I found a great anecdote on IMDb about Brando's performance in Streetcar. I've copied it here for ease of reading:

    The problem with casting Brando as Stanley was that he was much younger than the character as written by Williams. However, after a meeting between Brando and Williams, the playwright eagerly agreed that Brando would make an ideal Stanley. Williams believed that by casting a younger actor, the Neanderthalish Kowalski would evolve from being a vicious older man to someone whose unintentional cruelty can be attributed to his youthful ignorance. Brando ultimately was dissatisfied with his performance, though, saying he never was able to bring out the humor of the character, which was ironic as his characterization often drew laughs from the audience at the expense of Jessica Tandy's Blanche Dubois. During the out-of-town tryouts, Kazan realized that Brando's magnetism was attracting attention and audience sympathy away from Blanche to Stanley, which was not what the playwright intended. The audience's sympathy should be solely with Blanche, but many spectators were identifying with Stanley. Kazan queried Williams on the matter, broaching the idea of a slight rewrite to tip the scales back to more of a balance between Stanley and Blanche, but Williams demurred, smitten as he was by Brando, just like the preview audiences.

    For his part, Brando believed that the audience sided with his Stanley because Jessica Tandy was too shrill. He thought Vivien Leigh, who played the part in the movie, was ideal, as she was not only a great beauty but she WAS Blanche Dubois, troubled as she was in her real life by mental illness and nymphomania.

    Interesting. Anyway, the play went on to open on London's West End with the following production staff:

    The Original London Production (1949)

    Directed by Sir Lawrence Olivier

    Featured Vivian Leigh (Blanche), Bonar Colleano (Stanley), and Renee Asherson (Stella)

    The smashing success of the play led to the now famous film version in 1951.

    Most of the original Broadway team brought the play to the silver screen.

    Directed by Elia Kazan

    • Vivian Leigh as Blanche DuBois
    • Kim Hunter as Stella Kowalski
    • Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski
    • Karl Malden as Harold “Mitch” Mitchell
    • Rudy Bond as Steve Hubbell
    • Nick Dennis as Pablo Gonzales
    • Peg Hillias as Eunice Hubbell
    • Wright King as A Collector
    • Richard Garrick as Doctor

    A large number of changes had to be made to the script in order to conform to the Hollywood Production Code. The ending is much more ambiguous, and a number of references had to homosexuality and suicide had to be removed from the script. It still ran into problems with various decency groups. The film was nominated for 12 Oscars and won 4 - Best Actress (Vivian Leigh), Best Supporting Actor (Karl Malden), Best Supporting Actress (Kim Hunter), and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration Black & White (Richard Day and George Hopkins).

    Note that Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando were both nominated but did not win. Kazan lost to George Stevens for A Place in the Sun and Brando lost to Humphrey Bogart for The African Queen.

    There have been a few notable revivals since then.

    1992 Broadway Revival (at the Barrymore)

    Featured Jessica Lange (Blanche), Alec Baldwin (Stanley), Amy Madigan (Stella), Timothy Carhart (Mitch), with James Gandolfini and Aida Turturro in support roles.

    1997 50th Anniversary Production - New Orleans

    Music by the Marsalis family

    2005 Broadway Revival

    The 2005 Broadway revival was directed by Edward Hall and produced by The Roundabout Theater Company. It starred John C. Reilly (Stanley), Amy Ryan (Stella), and Natasha Richardson (Blanche). The production would mark Natasha Richardson’s final appearance on Broadway owing to her death in 2009 in a skiing accident.

    2011 Dragon Productions in Palo Alto

    Directed by: Jeanie K. Smith

    Blanche DuBois- Meredith Hagedorn*
    Stella Kowalski - Katie Anderson
    Stanley Kowalski - Andrew Harkins
    Harold "Mitch" Mitchell - Troy Johnson
    Steve Hubbell/Doctor/Understudy - Charles McKeithan
    Eunice Hubbell/Understudy - Monica Colletti
    Pablo/Paperboy/dead husband - Phillip Raupach
    Flower Girl/Nurse - Mary Lou Torre
    *Member of Actors' Equity Association

    Join us as we celebrate this classic on the centennial of one of America's greatest playwrights. We've sold out every show to date, so buy your tickets in advance - the show must close August 21st!