Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

California Shakespeare Theater Presents THE GLASS MENAGERIE

California Shakespeare Theater continues its 43rd Season with the play that made Tennessee Williams famous and secured his place in the American Classic canon. The Glass Menagerie is told through the illusion of Tom Wingfield's memory as he recounts an episode from his youth. Tom and his sister Laura live with their devoted mother, Amanda, a former Southern debutante. When Amanda arranges for a "Gentleman Caller" to come for dinner, her all-too-clear intentions force Laura and Tom to confront-in their own ways-the shattering weight of her overbearing expectations. The Glass Menagerie plays from July 5 through July 30; for tickets and information, contact the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666 or visit

Lisa Portes is a Cuban-American theater director from Chicago, where The Glass Menagerie first premiered and was championed in 1944. She says, "All of my work puts women or people of color or women of color at the center-it's just part of my personal mission as a Latina director, When I started thinking of The Glass Menagerie, I began to imagine who Amanda might be. The tradition of African-American debutantes dates back to the turn of the last century, early 1900's...Amanda as an African-American woman could exist, and that she ran off with the wrong guy (and that he left her) puts her under even greater pressure to try to set things right."

"The Glass Menagerie is one of the great American dramas," says Cal Shakes artistic director Eric Ting. "It is about a family trying to hold itself together under very intense circumstances, trying to hold onto the little community of mother, son, daughter, sister, brother... It's about all the little ways that we hurt the ones we love, and all the little ways that we love the ones we hurt. As we explore the complexity of what 'home' is this season, it felt like the right time to produce this classic at Cal Shakes."

The cast for The Glass Menagerie includes Karen Aldridge as Amanda in her Cal Shakes debut (Broadway's Matilda, Clybourne Park at Steppenwolf, among others); Sean San Jose as Tom (Segismundo in Life is a Dream, Juan José in The Ballad of Juan José, among others; Co-founder of Campo Santo); Rafael Jordan as Jim (King Lear and The Tempest Tour at Cal Shakes, A Christmas Carol at A.C.T., American Buffalo at Aurora Theatre, among others); and New York City poet and activist Phoebe Fica making her professional stage debut as Laura.

The creative team for The Glass Menagerie includes scenic designer Annie Smart, whose previous designs for Cal Shakes include Pygmalion, Lady Windermere's Fan, and Blithe Spirit and whose scenic designs have been seen regionally and on Broadway; costume designer Raquel Barreto, (Romeo and Juliet, Uncle Vanya, and Pericles at Cal Shakes); lighting designer Xavier Pierce (Fences at Cal Shakes, Shakespeare in Love at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, among others), and sound designer Brenden Aanes (Othello at Cal Shakes, winner of a TBA Award for his work on TheatreWorks Triangle, plus designs for A.C.T. and MTC, among others).

Lisa Portes (Director) Portes is a Chicago-based director whose work is regularly seen at Steppenwolf. She is the co-founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons, and also serves as the Head of Directing and the Artistic Director of Chicago Playworks for Families and Young Audiences for The Theatre School at DePaul University. She is the 2016 recipient of the Zelda Fichandler Award, given to directors and choreographers who are in the center of their creative lives and; who demonstrate great accomplishment to-date and promise for the future. Recent projects include This Is Modern Art by Idris Goodwin & Kevin Coval (Steppenwolf Theatre), Grounded by George Brant (American Blues Theatre), Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West (TimeLine Theatre), Ghostwritten (Goodman Theatre) and After A Hundred Years (Guthrie Theatre), all by Naomi Iizuka; Night Over Erzinga (By Adriana Sevahn-Nichols), Ski Dubai by Laura Jacqmin and Spare Change by Mia McCullough (First Look Repertory of New Plays, Steppenwolf Theatre); Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue by Quiara AlegrÍa Hudes (Teatro Vista and Rivendell Theatre at Steppenwolf); Permanent Collection by Thomas Gibbons (Northlight Theatre); The Piano Teacher by Julia Cho; Far Away by Caryl Churchill; In the Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks (Next Theatre); Slingshot by Kia Korthron, Undone by Andrea Thome and Seven Spots on the Sun by Martín Zimmerman (Victory Gardens, Ignition Festival); El Grito del Bronx by Migdalia Cruz (Latino Theatre Festival, Goodman Theatre), Offspring of the Cold War by Carlos Murillo (Walkabout Theatre); and Wilder: An Erotic Chamber Musical by Erin Cressida Wilson, Jack Herrick and Make Craver (Playwrights Horizons, NYC).

Primarily a director of new plays and musicals, her work has been seen regionally at the Kennedy Center, South Coast Repertory Theatre's Hispanic Playwrights Project, McCarter Theatre Lab, A Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Cape Cod Theatre Project, the Santa Barbara Theatre Lab and the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference; in New York her work has been seen at Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theatre, the Flea Theatre and the Cherry Lane Alternative Theatre. Lisa served as the Associate Director of the Tony Award-winning musical The Who's Tommy, and staged its international productions in Canada, Germany and the U.K., as well as its 20th anniversary remount at the Stratford Theatre Festival in 2013.

Single tickets for The Glass Menagerie range from $20 to $72, with discounts available for seniors, youth, students, military families, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices, dates, titles, and artists are subject to change. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard, or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing are available at

California Shakespeare Theater's 2017 season is supported in part by the generosity of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. Corporate partners include BART, City National Bank, John Muir Health, Meyer Sound, Peet's Coffee, and San Francisco magazine.


California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes), under the leadership of Artistic Director Eric Ting and Managing Director Susie Falk, is now in its 43rd season as a nationally-recognized leader in drawing on the power of authentic, inclusive storytelling to create more vibrant communities. Serving more than 43,000 people annually, Cal Shakes invites people from all walks of life to make deeply-felt connections with our shared humanity through its work onstage, in schools, and with people in non-traditional settings throughout the Bay Area who have little or no access to theater. For more information, visit

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You