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Go Behind the Scenes of A Streetcar Named Desire

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Publisher's Summary

Following his 2019 production of A Raisin in the Sun, celebrated as "an absorbing, watershed revival," by The New York Times, Robert O’Hara returns to Williamstown Theatre Festival to direct this Tennessee Williams masterpiece. With Emmy, Grammy, and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Blanche DuBois alongside Carla Gugino as Stella, O’Hara takes a fresh and visceral look at the emotionally charged relationship between these two iconic sisters. Haunted by her past, Blanche seeks refuge with Stella and Stanley (Ariel Shafir) in New Orleans, where she wrestles with the nature of her sister’s husband, her sister’s denial, and her own unraveling mind.

©1947 Tennessee Williams (P)2020 2020 AO Media LLC

About the Creator

Tennessee Williams was born in 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi, where his grandfather was the Episcopal clergyman. 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 entered the University of Iowa in 1938 and completed his course, at the same time holding a large number of part-time jobs of great diversity. He received a Rockefeller fellowship in 1940 for his play BATTLE OF ANGELS, and he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for A Streetcar Named Desire and in 1955 for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Other plays include Summer and Smoke, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real, Baby Doll, The Glass Menagerie, Orpheus Descending, Suddenly Last Summer, The Night of the Iguana, Sweet Bird of Youth, and The Two-Character Play. Tennessee Williams died in 1983.

About the Director

Robert O'Hara has received the NAACP Best Play and Best Director Award, the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, two Obies and the Herb Alpert Award. Broadway: Slave Play. Off Broadway: He directed the world premieres of Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play, Nikkole Salter and Dania Guiria’s In the Continuum, Tarell McCraney’s The Brother/ Sister Plays (Part 2), Colman Domingo’s Wild with Happy, Kirsten Childs’ Bella: An American Tall Tale, as well as his own plays, Mankind, Bootycandy, and Insurrection: Holding History. His plays Zombie: The American and Barbecue world premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theater and The Public Theater, respectively. His recent directing projects include, Baum and Cheri’s Gun and Powder at Signature Theater, Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun at Williamstown Theater Festival, Aziza Barnes’ BLKS at MCC, Inda Craig-Galvan’s Black Superhero Magic Mama at The Geffen Theater, the Universes’ Uni/Son, inspired by the poetry of August Wilson at OSF and Shakespeare’s Macbeth at Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Original Music Composition and Sound Design by: Lindsay Jones
Dialect Coaches: Dawn-Elin Fraser, Deborah Hecht
Intimacy Director: Claire Warden
Assistant Director: Nicholas Polonio
Executive Producer for Audible: Kate Navin
Producer for Audible: Jessica Amato
Executive Producer for Williamstown Theatre Festival: Mandy Greenfield
Producer for Williamstown Theatre Festival: Lindsey Turteltaub
Staff for Williamstown Theatre Festival
Antonello Di Benedetto, Director of Audience Engagement
Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director
Henrietta Key, Development Coordinator
Aileen Lambert, Literary Manager
Lucie Ledbetter, Line Producer
Josh Martinez-Nelson, Director of Development & Communications
Amy Russell, Director of Finance
Laura Savia, Associate Artistic Director
Lindsey Turteltaub, Director of Production
Lianna Rada-Hung, Assistant to the Artistic Director
For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, has brought emerging and professional theatre artists together to create a thrilling summer festival of premiere work alongside fresh, new productions of the western canon, accompanying cultural events including Community Works and Late-Night Cabarets, and readings and workshops of new plays. Under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, WTF launched the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, through which theatre artists, including Jocelyn Bioh, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Jiehae Park, Benjamin Scheuer, and many others, create new work supported by a year-round play development program. WTF runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theatre talent, and artists and productions shaped at WTF fill theatres in New York, London, and around the country each season. Williamstown Theatre Festival’s productions of The Bridges of Madison County, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love, Living on Love, and The Visit enjoyed critically acclaimed runs on Broadway, with The Elephant Man and The Visit receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical, respectively. WTF's world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Actually, Paradise Blue, and Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs. In the abbreviated 2019-20 theatrical season, Williamstown Theatre Festival was represented or scheduled to be represented on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally by The Sound Inside and Grand Horizons, both of which received Tony Award nominations for Best Play, The Rose Tattoo, Seared, Selling Kabul, Unknown Soldier, and Lempicka. Visit us at www.wtfestival.org.
Williamstown Theatre Festival would like to thank 321 Theatrical Management, Telsey & Company and DKC/O&M.

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What listeners say about A Streetcar Named Desire

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Classic With Fresh Insight

I found myself drawn in immediately. The raw emotion of the actors and the theater of sound produced a visceral experience of life with abuse, addiction and mental illness. Ohara’s focus on the 2 women, their relationship to men and each other as sisters, gave nuance to
a familiar piece of writing. Stanley is rough, sly, vengeful and abusing yet cries like a terrified little boy when drunk then does a turn into wildly sexual, twisting the listener’s emotions along with him at every step. The whole cast was well matched and made this radio play into a “theater-going experience”. Robert Ohara’s interview at the end is well worth listening to. His take on Williams and this play in particular helps shed light on the nuances of this production.

10 people found this helpful

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Streetcar Continues to Electrify--Don't Miss

Tennessee Williams' legendary A Streetcar Named Desire continues its path of theatre immortality, thanks to a brilliant new Audible production by the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Originally scheduled for full live production, the pandemic once again has called on actors and directors to use their creativity and inventiveness, and Williamstown certainly has. Directed by Robert O'Hara, the production features the wondrous Audra McDonald as Blanche; the six-time Tony winner once again reveals her astounding versatility, with a Blanche that thrills, amuses, terrifies, and finally breaks your heart. Actor Ariel Shafir is a revelation as Stanley, showing us a grown-up New Orleans street punk who sounds straight from the crooked sidewalks of the Crescent City. He's unpredictable and electrifying and does the near-impossible: He makes you forget the legendary Brando, certainly for awhile. Carla Gugino is superb as Stella, caught between her love for her sister and her husband (we know who wins out). Sullivan Jones is a stalwart Mitch. Williams' simplest lines lift us to the level of poetry: "I can't stand a naked light bulb anymore than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action." Blanche and Stanley's harrowing final scene together is chilling, aided by jungle-like sounds and music (Williams remarks that we should feel in a jungle by that time) by sound editor Lindsay Jones. Don't miss this Streetcar; and leave the kids in another room,

8 people found this helpful

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Well done

Great job with this rendition. I haven't watched/ listened to many of SCND plays but this one was very intense!

6 people found this helpful

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Ariel Shafir’s performance as Stanley.

I was very impressed with audibles overall production of “streetcar named desire”. I was particularly moved by Ariel Shafir’s portrayal of Stanley. I was able to visualize Stanley’s character through Ariel’s unique style of voice and tone. He engaged me from the very beginning. I heard Stanley’s intense emotional presence throughout the reading. Felt like I was watching the play on stage. Great job Ariel! The entire production was stellar. I highly recommend listening to it!

5 people found this helpful

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No Frills but Extraordinary Thrills

What nourishment for theater deprived souls. McDonald 's Blanche soared as she descended into madness. Shafir 's portrayal excavated humor and insight into the bestial primal Stanley. I thought he brought more depth and fascination to a character usually seen as one dimensional. I loved the Carla/ Blanche sibling interaction. Blanche knew just how to exploit and manipulate her sister playing on her guilt for " abandoning her" The entire ensemble was strong. O' Hara is a magician bringing this audible project to such palpable brilliance under such challenging circumstances. I can only imagine what this perfect cast would bring to a fully realized staged production. Bravo to all involved

4 people found this helpful

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An absolute delight!

The performances were very strong. They’re voices setting the stage for what is a powerful, gripping, sexy, moving and raw telling of this classic. A triumph in the face of adversity!

4 people found this helpful

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Powerful, raw, amazing!!!

Absolutely amazing performance!! I was pulled in and had so many emotions throughout the production... Loved every second!! Bravo!!

4 people found this helpful

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Outstanding voice acting

This is by far the best way to experience the play if you cannot see it on stage! It’s better than the book and, in my opinion, even the movie. The actors are on point to convey so much of their character and the emotions, it is truly outstanding!

Audible has an incredible host of voice talent that brings many books to life but experiencing this new series of plays is NEXT LEVEL! I can’t wait to experience another play like Streetcar!

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing

Streetcar was already a favorite but this cast brought it to another level. Audra was unbelievable (as always). I can’t believe the creativity that needed to go into a production like this. I was blown away!

3 people found this helpful

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Exceptional!

A great story! The performers were outstanding! They put so much emotion that I felt every feeling!

3 people found this helpful