Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire is the tale of a catastrophic confrontation between fantasy and reality, embodied in the characters of Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Arthur Miller.
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Columbus, Mississippi. When his father, a travelling salesman, moved with his family to St Louis some years later, both he and his sister found it impossible to settle down to city life. He entered college during the Depression and left after a couple of years to take a clerical job in a shoe company. He stayed there for two years, spending the evenings writing. He received a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1940 for his play Battle of Angels, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 and 1955. Among his many other plays Penguin have published The Glass Menagerie (1944), The Rose Tattoo (1951), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955), Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), The Night of the Iguana (1961), and Small Craft Warnings(1972).
Williams's classic play begins with Blanche DuBois's arrival in New Orleans to stay with her sister and brother-in-law, Stella and Stanley Kowalski. The determinedly genteel Blanche is shocked by their lower-class lifestyle--and by Stanley's frequently aggressive behavior. As Blanche's secrets catch up with her, a seedy reality trumps her love for romance. Rosemary Harris embodies Blanche with all the flare, attitude and Southern drawl commonly associated with the cultural icon. The role of Stanley is so physical that his presence is diminished by the lack of a visual performance, but James Farentino's Stanley is excellent. The overall production quality is excellent with musical segues and sound effects that enhance without distracting the listeners. This recording captures the cast of the 1973 Broadway revival (which won Harris a Drama Desk award and Farentino a Theatre World award). (Feb.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Available for the first time on CD, this is a full-cast recording of Williams's famous play as performed at New York's Lincoln Center in 1973. The sound effects and music can overwhelm the production, which suffers somewhat from the lack of visuals (there is no sense of time passing, so listeners unfamiliar with the play might mistake all the action to take place over a brief period). Rosemary Harris's reading of Southern belle Blanche DuBois is excellent; her performance lends an airy, unreal quality to Blanche's follies. James Farentino plays mocking, brutal Stanley Kowalski aptly, and Patricia Connolly, too, plays Stella with suitable passivity. Better seen than heard, this is still an important recording to own. [Audio clip available through www.harperaudio.com.-Ed.]-B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara P.L., Goleta Branch, CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"In Streetcar Williams found images and rhythms that are still part
of the way we think and feel and move..."
Blanche is the Everest of modern American drama, a peak of psychological complexity and emotional range.--John Lahr
The introductions, by playwrights as illustrious as Williams himself, are the gem of these new editions.--Ken Furtado
In Streetcar Williams found images and rhythms that are still part of the way we think and feel and move.--Jack Kroll
Lyrical and poetic and human and heartbreaking and memorable and funny.--Francis Ford Coppola