Kennedy Center to Present Richard Thomas in 'Blanche and Beyond'

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The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presents Emmy Award winner Richard Thomas in Blanche and Beyond September 24-26, 2008 in the Terrace Theater.  The one-man show is adapted and directed by Steve Lawson from the correspondences of Tennessee Williams between 1945 and 1957, and is a sequel to A Distant Country Called Youth, staged during the Center's Tennessee Williams Explored festival in 2004.  This production is part of Prelude 2008: Arts Across America.  Language and content for Blanche and Beyond is intended for mature ages, high-school age and above.

While A Distant Country Called Youth traced the evolution of a young man finding his artistic voice, Blanche and Beyond spans the peak of Williams' career - from the Broadway triumphs of The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire through Summer and Smoke, Camino Real, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In letters both hilarious and poignant - to the likes of Elia Kazan, Jessica Tandy, Gore Vidal, his critics, lovers and family - Blanche and Beyond explores a brilliant playwright facing the seismic shock of international fame.  Thomas and Lawson premiered the work at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2005.

Since his Broadway debut in Sunrise at Campobello in 1958, Richard Thomas has appeared in New York countless times, most recently in Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway production of Richard Greenberg's A Naked Girl On The Appian Way, in Michael Frayn's Democracy and As You Like It in Central Park.  He has performed a variety of classical roles around the country, including Hamlet, Richard III and Peer Gynt for at Hartford Stage; Richard II at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre; Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Angelo in Measure for Measure at the Ahmanson in Los Angeles; and Danton's Death at Houston's Alley Theatre.  He also appeared twice in Art in London's West End.  Mr. Thomas has starred in over forty films for television including Terrence McNally's Andre's Mother and Wild Hearts for Hallmark.  His television series have included It's a Miracle, Just Cause and The Waltons, for which he won an Emmy Award in 1972.  Along with A Distant Country Called Youth in 2004, Mr. Thomas' Kennedy Center credits include roles in Twelve Angry Men in 2006 and The Count of Monte Cristo, directed by Peter Sellars in 1985.

The conceiver, adapter and director of Blanche and Beyond, Steve Lawson currently serves as Executive Director of the Williamstown (MA) Film Festival and has long been associated with the Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Lawson received a Christopher Award and has been nominated for the Emmy and the Humanitas Prize for his television writing.  Both A Distant Country Called Youth and Blanche and Beyond have been performed across the United States and have been published by Samuel French.


Performances for Blanche and Beyond will run September 24-26, 2008 at 7:30 PM in the Terrace Theater.  All tickets cost $45 and are available for purchase at the Kennedy Center box office or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600. Patrons living outside the Washington metropolitan area may dial toll-free at (800) 444-1324 or visit us online at

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