Jeremy Lawrence Plays Snagglepuss Sunday At The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival
The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival is pleased to announce that Jeremy Lawrence will appear as the title character in a one-time performance of The Snagglepuss Chronicles on Sunday, September 30 at 11am in Provincetown.
Directed by Brenna Geffers, the staging is based upon the bestselling new six issue comic series Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, written by comic book mastermind Mark Russell and published by DC Comics.
This special showing will be performed as a staged reading with the stars of the Festival at Fishermen Hall, located at 12 Winslow Street in Provincetown. General admission tickets are $45, available by phone at (866) 789-TENN and online at twptown.org.
The world of Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles is one of Broadway fame, star-studded parties, and confessional limo rides on down-low visits to the Stonewall Inn.
Released by DC Entertainment in six issues through the first half of 2018, this reimagining sees America's beloved pink mountain lion as - Heavens to Murgatroyd! - a discreetly gay playwright under attack by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Set during the "Red Scare" panic over communism, the idea began with Russell sending tweets as Snagglepuss in the voice of Tennessee Williams. The resulting comic series, Exit Stage Left, featuring Mike Feehan and a rotating roster of artists, is a hard-hitting political satire of mid-century fame, shame, and social change.
Although this will be Jeremy Lawrence's first appearance as a pink mountain lion, he comes to Snagglepuss as an accomplished performer of Tennessee Williams' work, and has appeared as the playwright himself in numerous one-man shows. As a solo performer, Lawrence has developed several evenings of "Williams in his own words," including Talking Tennessee and Everyone Expects Me to Write Another Streetcar.
Lawrence has appeared in several Festival productions including Tennessee Suite: Travelling Companion and The Chalky White Substance (2007), The Hotel Plays at The Gifford House (2011), and I Never Get Dressed Until After Dark on Sundays (2012).
Alongside Lawrence at Sunday's performance is Broadway actor John Treacy Egan, who will play Huckleberry Hound. Egan's Broadway credits include The Producers, Sister Act, Bye Bye Birdie, and My Fair Lady, and his off-Broadway credits include Guys & Dolls, When Pigs Fly!, and Bat Boy. Egan performed on the national tours of Kiss Me Kate and Cats, and he has appeared on television in episodes of Gotham, The Good Wife, Nurse Jackie, Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock, and Law & Order.
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles is an unexpected comic understanding of Tennessee Williams as iconic American.
"I think a story about art's struggle to survive in a climate of fear has never been more relevant," says comic writer Mark Russell, who read many Tennessee Williams plays while working on this project. What he observed across Williams' plays, Russell says, "is the tragic beauty of people betrayed by their own passions. Clearly a lot of his own sublimated pain makes its way into his work, giving it the power of real authenticity. It's something I wanted to imbue Snagglepuss' work with as well."
Brenna Geffers, whose Philadelphia company Die-Cast staged last year's Pericles, is teaming up with Russell for this special staged reading that brings Hanna-Barbera's lovable hero to life. Celebrity guest stars will appear in cameos as Marilyn Monroe, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker, and the Rosenbergs.
"Mark has an amazing imagination," Geffers says, "and the specificity of his storytelling channels that imagination into work that is powerful and potent, but yet can still be playful. As a theater artist, I often feel like I am reclaiming classic stories or myths and crafting them for a living, breathing audience. We look to make the familiar unfamiliar again when we do classic theater texts. Mark does this same action with the cultural icons of Hanna-Barbera."
"This is a dream come true for me," says Russell. "The Festival has been great and really respectful of the work, and I can't wait to see what Brenna has done with it."
About the 2018 Festival Program
Tennessee Williams knew the drama of waiting, both in his life and in his writing, making his plays richer, sadder, and more joyous. His insights into waiting inspire the theme of Wishful Thinking for the 13th Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.
The 2018 lineup of shows features five Tennessee Williams plays alongside works by Federico García Lorca, Anton Chekhov, and Samuel Beckett, produced and performed by artists from New York City, Philadelphia, Florida, Michigan, Texas, and beyond.
This year's line-up features the world premiere of Talisman Roses, a Williams one-act that Tom, not yet Tennessee, was moved to write after a visit to his older sister Rose in a state psychiatric ward. Never before seen on stage, this tender and vivid piece about the fragility of the mind is staged by distinguished actor and director Marsha Mason and produced by The Collective NY.
Roses feature prominently in Festival shows this year, including in The Rose Tattoo - one of Williams' most passionate and romantic comedies, starring Festival favorite Irene Glezos and directed by Dana Greenfield - and in Doña Rosita the Spinster, Lorca's lyrical final play about an artless young woman who waits in Spain for her beloved to return from Argentina, in a production directed by Festival Curator David Kaplan in collaboration with Texas Tech University.
This year's program also includes: Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in a fresh translation by John Freedman of the Moscow Times, produced as an immersive and intimate site-specific show by Arb Arts from Ann Arbor, Michigan and directed by Katherine Mendeloff; an imaginative rendering of the Beckett novella Company by Lane Savadove and Philadelphia's EgoPo, who produced the 2016 Festival hit The Hairy Ape, directed by Brenna Geffers; and a new performance piece by Geffers called Menagerie of Angels, in which Philadelphia's Die-Cast ensemble (last year's Pericles) leads audiences through a series of haunted encounters with figures from Tennessee Williams' dreams.
Also this year: a production from Jeff Glickman and the Pensacola Little Theatre of the Williams drama Will Mr. Merriwether Return From Memphis? that blends fantasy and reality into a colorful ghost story; and a dark comedy from New York City called Some Problems for the Moose Lodge that skewers family, religion, aging, and madness in a way only Williams can. Directed by Rory Pelsue and produced by The Collective NY, Some Problems for the Moose Lodge is paired with the Williams play Steps Must Be Gentle, a fantasia about the death and afterlife of the poet Hart Crane.
The Festival also features parties, post-show mixers, educational classes, and exclusive donor events throughout the four-day celebration.
About the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival
The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival was founded in 2006 in Provincetown - the birthplace of modern American theater - where Williams worked on many of his major plays during the 1940s. The TW Festival is the nation's largest performing arts festival dedicated to celebrating and expanding an understanding of the full breadth of the work of America's great playwright. Each year, theater artists from around the globe perform classic and innovative productions to celebrate Williams' enduring influence in the 21st century, hosted by venues throughout the seaside village. For more details, visit twptown.org and follow the Festival on Facebook.
The Festival is funded in part by the Provincetown Tourism Fund and the Mass Cultural Council, and is presented by the Pilgrim House.