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Review: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at Williamstown Theatre Festival on Audible Theatre.

Williamstown Theatre Festival Opens 2020 Season Through Audible Theatre.

Review: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at Williamstown Theatre Festival on Audible Theatre. Originally scheduled as the 2020 Season opener on the Main Stage at Williamstown Theatre Festival, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, is now available through Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling.

Tennessee Williams' most popular play was first performed on Broadway seventy-three years ago on December 03, 1947. The critically acclaimed drama focuses on Blanche Dubois (Audra McDonald) a Southern Belle who, after encountering a series of setbacks, has arrived at the apartment of her sister, Stella (Carla Gugino) and her husband Stanley Kowalski (Ariel Shafir), in the New Orleans French Quarter.

Her home and money are gone but Blanche tells Stella that she has taken a leave of absence from her job as an English teacher. Blanche is noticeably anxious, intense, and verbose as she catches up with Stella. Blanche is also quite judgmental. Her low opinion of both Stanley and the home they share is also abundantly clear. Establishing conflict between Blanche and Stanley, with Stella stuck in the middle, that is the substance of the play. We learn that the home Blanche lost was the family's estate, Belle Reve. Stella is calm and reasonable as she questions Blanche for details. Stanley is far less so. Blanche becomes more anxious and defensive in response to the Kowalski's questions and the inability to maintain her deception. Stanley's dogged pursuit reveals details suggesting Blanche's situation is a direct result of bad decisions and behavior she has been engaged in. Blanche continues to craft a series of manipulations and spin a tightly tangled web which under Stanley's scrutiny unravels to the point of falling apart.

Review: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at Williamstown Theatre Festival on Audible Theatre.
Ariel Sharif, Carla Gugino,
Audra McDonald, Robert O'Hara
in rehearsal

In a recent New York Times article Audra McDonald said that the role of Blanche Dubois is "one of the most iconic female roles in the history of theater" suggesting the magnitude of being asked to play the role brings. Her performance is outstanding. She rapidly moves through a broad range of emotions with such dexterity it is difficult to determine if she is driven by cold calculated manipulation or from desperation and angst. Gugino and Shafir support with strong first-rate performances. The cast is rounded out by Joel Rueben Ganz, Joe Goldammer, Carmen M. Herlihy, Sullivan Jones, Brian Lucas, Stacey Raymond, and Cesar J. Rosado.

Following his 2019 production of A RAISIN IN THE SUN, 2020 Tony Award nominee Robert O'Hara returns to Williamstown Theatre Festival to direct. The creative team also includes Lindsay Jones (sound designer), Dawn-Elin Fraser and Deborah Hecht (dialect coaches), Claire Warden (intimacy director), and Nicholas Polonio (assistant director).

Review: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at Williamstown Theatre Festival on Audible Theatre.
Company members
virtual meet & greet

The presentation of the 2020 season at this time, in the audio only format, represents a creative approach to keeping the arts alive during the pandemic. The innovative solution, a collaboration spearheaded by WTF Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, and Audible Artistic Producer Kate Navin provides employment for the artists and a body of work that, through Audible, can be accessed by a much broader (global) audience than traditional seasons. This is different to be sure - what isn't during these unprecedented times? It is a bit like taking a step back to those "simpler days" when families gathered around the wireless and listened to radio plays. It may take a moment to adjust, but this production of STREETCAR stands up and will draw listeners in. I look forward to the additional six titles in the season scheduled to be released over the coming weeks.

With a running time of approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE is now available to Audible listeners. Special access to all seven titles in the WTF Season on Audible will be made available to eligible donors. Visit for more information.

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Marc Savitt has a life-long passion for, and association with the performing arts, particularly Musical Theatre. He has performed with choral groups in several US cities, and London, and appears on... (read more about this author)

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