African-American Shakespeare Company Presents CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, 1/26-2/17


San Francisco's African-American Shakespeare Company continues its 2012-13 season with Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning play CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF. African-American Shakespeare Company Artistic Director L. Peter Callender (A Raisin in the Sun, Twelfth Night) helms this scintillating interpretation of Williams's timeless play. Called "an indestructible American classic" by Variety, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF plays January 26 through February 17 (press opening: January 26) at the Buriel Clay Theater at the African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco. For tickets ($10-35) and more information, the public may call 1-800-838-3006 or visit Parental guidance suggested.

Brimming with Tennessee Williams's trademark emotional intensity and insightful wit, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF investigates the lengths people will go to protect themselves and the ones they love. Maggie Pollitt is a young Southern wife in a powerful Southern family doing everything she can to save her marriage to Brick, a one-time football star who continues to live, miserably, off his former glory. A series of explosive secrets, lies, and betrayals are revealed as Maggie and Brick join the rest of the Pollitts to celebrate family patriarch Big Daddy's birthday, and it becomes clear that the Pollitt family has long constructed a web of deceit for itself. One of Williams's best-known works, and one of his favorite plays, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF originally opened on Broadway in 1955 under the direction of Elia Kazan; the play was made into a film in 1958 starring Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, and was revived on Broadway in 2008 featuring an all-black cast, including James Earl Jones (Big Daddy), Phylicia Rashad (Big Mama), and Anika Noni Rose (Maggie).

"I am thrilled to be directing Tennessee Williams's iconic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," said African-American Shakespeare Company Artistic Director L. Peter Callender. "It was one of Williams's favorite plays, and it's most definitely one of my favorite plays. It's about a young woman and her struggle to win back her estranged husband, while dealing with one seriously dysfunctional family. It's sexy, messy, and, I think, incredibly moving."

"We contain within us so many experiences," continued Callender, "so many stories, and the beauty of African-American Shakespeare Company is that we have the opportunity to share the full range of those experiences, channeled through such classic stories as Cat on a Hot Tim Roof. It's a wonderful opportunity and a rare gift."

African-American Shakespeare Company Artistic Director L. Peter Callender helms CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF. Callender has worked professionally as an actor, writer, and director for over 30 years. He received his formal training in theater at the Juilliard School in New York City, and has appeared on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theaters across the United States and abroad. Directing credits at African-American Shakespeare Company include last season's production of A Raisin in the Sun and the company's production of Twelfth Night; additional directing credits include productions at Word for Word, Solano College, and the San Francisco School for the Arts. As an actor, Callender is an Associate Artist at California Shakespeare Theater, and has regional credits including productions at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater, Lorraine Hansberry Theater, Magic Theater, Marin Theatre Company, Thick Description, Cincinnati Playhouse, Arena Stage, and New York Shakespeare Festival, among others.

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