Flat Rock Playhouse Opens CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, 11/1
Onstage November 1-18 at Playhouse Mainstage, Flat Rock Playhouse presents Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, one of Tennessee Williams's best-known works and his personal favorite. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof first heated up Broadway in 1955 with its gothic American story of brothers vying for their dying father's inheritance. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama that same year and has since been seen regularly on stages across the country. Set in the steamy Mississippi Delta, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof takes us deep into Tennessee Williams country, geographically and psychologically. Directed by Tony Award winning director Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Broadway Revival of Ragtime) and starring Barbara Bradshaw (Big Mama), J. Kenneth Campbell (Big Daddy), Preston Dyar Gooper/Brother Man), Robert Eli (Brick), Michael MacCauley (Doc Baugh), Erin Maguire (Mae/Sister Woman), Scott Treadway (Reverend Tooker) and Adria Vitlar (Margaret); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof swelters with the fire of longing for that illusive shade of happiness. The fierce currents of discontent, jealousy, and mendacity that surge through this piece leave the viewer to fend for himself on an emotional and gripping roller coaster.
Director Marcia Milgrom Dodge offers her perspective on the classic drama. “On a sultry Southern night, the Pollitt family gathers together to celebrate Big Daddy’s 65th Birthday amid secrets and lies so great that the characters roar as if singing arias in an opera. Even today, audiences still crave the poetic language of Tennessee William’s monumental story of a family on the brink of terrifying revelations. This play is as timely today as it was when it first opened on Broadway in 1955. The Pollitt family’s dysfunction lies in devastating themes of monumental proportions: fortune, betrayal, sexual desire, alcoholism, longing, mortality, shame and jealously—sounds like the makings of popular reality television, only this is better, because it’s happening in the moment. This is life.”
Tensions are running high in the Pollitt household. Big Daddy has cancer but doesn’t know it yet. Brick is a self-destructive alcoholic who tries to find oblivion in the liquor bottle to obliterate memories of his involvement in the death of his best friend Skipper years ago. Maggie the Cat ferociously tries to rescue her marriage from Brick’s alcoholic hostility and sexual indifference. Meanwhile, Gooper and Mae circle around Big Daddy, trying to position themselves for a big chunk of the old man’s inheritance after he dies. Big Mamma refuses to accept that her 40-year marriage to Big Daddy has been a sham, no matter how much the man bullies and shames her. Needless to say, with all the lies and bad blood circulating through the Pollitt house, things get much worse before they get better.
For the Pollitt family, money and wealth are tools for how these people survive. Pride and prestige are goals they aim to shoot at. Lies and flattery are ways to achieve the goals and set all their dreams on track. Even with these grand schemes, everyone is in denial. Over the course of one evening, each member of the familydisplays his or her loneliness by alternately talking or refusing to talk, by loving or by rebuffing love. What makes them lonely is their inability to communicate with those that they love and it is in this essential human drive that Williams creates the heartbreak of this piece.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is a story about people who talk incessantly, but whose great, enduring tragedy is how painful and difficult it is for them to say anything true. With the strife unfolding before us on stage, the story delivers an unasked-for intimacy. We can’t look away even if we want to, and that’s what Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is all about: facing the truth, accepting your condition, speaking the unspoken. While the specifics are different for all of us, the essential worries and fears of this family are universal, and have been at the heart of a powerful drama for over 50 years. What also remains alive in this now classic American theater piece is the play's comedy, which is strikingly modern. While the matters at hand are serious — Williams' barbed humor is breathtaking. The candor, sensuality and power of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof continue to impact now as it did then.
Milgrom Dodge offers more insight into heart of play, “Tennessee Williams said, ‘We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.’ So, our production sets the action in the ruins of Big Daddy’s plantation, inspired by the Windsor Ruins. Windsor was built in 1860 and was the biggest plantation home ever built in Mississippi. Sadly this architectural masterpiece of the "Old South" burned down in 1890. This crumbling home becomes our coliseum for the emotional battle that audience will experience.”
In addition to Marcia Milgrom Dodge as director, the creative team for this classic drama of raw emotion and unrelenting truths includes scenic design by James W. Johnson, costume design by Ashli Arnold, lighting design by Driscoll Otto, sound design by Bryan Delaney, properties and set dressing by Paul Feraldi and stage management by Johanna M. Erlenbach.
Audi Asheville and CityMac present Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, onstage November 1 through November 18. Evening performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00 pm and matinee performances are Wednesday, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are $35 with discounts available for seniors, AAA members, military personnel, students and groups.
During the first week, a Rush Ticket Discount is available two hours before for the preview performances Thursday, November 1 through the Saturday matinee, November 3. Adult Rush Tickets are $20 and Student Rush Tickets are $10. Rush tickets are very limited and subject to availability. The Playhouse will host a special Audio Described matinee performance of the show for the sight-impaired patrons on Saturday, November 17. Tickets can be purchased, by calling The Playhouse box office at 828-693-0731, toll-free at 866-732-8008 or online at www.flatrockplayhouse.org. Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage is located at 2661 Greenville Hwy, Flat Rock, NC.