An exciting new The Glass Menagerie

This Broadway entry will be a little longer than my usual few lines of reaction because this is an absolutely extraordinary production.

When The Glass Menagerie came up on one of my discount theater sites I hesitated.  I’ve seen so many productions of this classic work and studied it in high school and in college and sat through scene readings in classes and workshops and auditions – I am frankly tired of it.  It has locked in my brain as a treacly Southern Gothic melodramatic overwrought work that always starts and ends the same.  If not done with full 1940’s sets and costumes it has the suggestion of same, never straying far from the overdone description in the script.

It may have been fresh and innovative when it was first done but as far as I am concerned it has calcified into a guaranteed mood and approach and I have never seen a fresh production.  But it featured Sally Field and Joe Mantello and was directed by Sam Gold, so I thought I would give it a shot.  Sam Gold and the amazing cast delivered.

When we got to the theater I was paradoxically put off by the mostly empty stage.  Oh, here we go with another deconstructed production to focus on the words, I thought.  My fear was that I loved that approach with classic tomes like Shakespeare and Aristophanes and Shaw and others.  I have never considered Tennessee Williams to be a classic script.  But what do I know?

I don’t want to spoil everything about the production – you must see it for yourself.  Most importantly to me, they solved the beginning and they solved the end.  I have long considered those parts of this script to be the most sappy syrupy concoctions.  But in ways you must see for yourself Sam Gold has brilliantly solved them both.  And organically created a situation in which Sally Field did not get entrance applause.  I know that is how audiences show their appreciation for stars but I always hate that part.  Don’t get me wrong Sally was wonderful and a revelation in the role, never over-sentimental, never falling into the trope traps this play has become.  But entrance applause always reminds me she is a visiting star.  She is an accomplished and talented actress and fulfilled her role beautifully.  And don’t get me started about how they fixed the ending.  I could go on all night.

I have no idea what the critics will say about this approach and I sometimes delay my blog post to at least see what they will say, even if I disagree.  I don’t care what they say.  This is brilliant and I will never see The Glass Menagerie in quite the same way again.

Now, Mr. Gold, please turn your eyes to my favorite Tennessee Williams script – Night of the Iguana.  I want to see what you can do with that!

bway-the-glass-menagerie

As usual you can find more at http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes

Meeting Without End at Mary Baldwin

I am delighted to announce that my short play “Meeting Without End” will be performed in mid-May at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA.  It will be done by a member of a directing class as part of a project.  I am confident it will be well directed because it will be led by a certain Juliana (Toni) Thinnes.  Yep.  My niece.  Cool.  Hope I get a chance to see it first hand!    More details as it becomes available!

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As usual you can find more at http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes

Pitchers and Catchers Report!

Ah, such beautiful words.  Spring is truly on its way.  Throw and catch.  Run and hit.  Hope springs eternal.  My beloved Cincinnati Reds will triumph this season.  Of course, I’ve had that same refrain since 1991 but I believe it every year.  Even without Brandon Phillips (we miss you already dude) I believe we can win.  When I was growing up in Cincinnati and South West Ohio, Baseball was practically a religion.  I think it has been taken down a notch but just wait for the next Fountain Square celebration and all that will change.  Cincinnati is the last major league city with an Opening Day Parade every year and one reason we always open at home.  Go Reds.

reds-goodyear

As always you can find more at http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes

Discount Ticket Code

As noted in an earlier post, my short play HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEONARD will be part of The Player’s Theatre Short Play and Musical Festival.  Performances are:

Thursday, February 23 @ 7:00 PM
Friday, February 24 @ 7:00 PM
Saturday, February 25 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday, February 26 @ 3:00 PM

You can catch the shows in Greenwich Village at:
The Steve & Marie Sgouros Theater at the Players Theatre
115 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012

You can buy tickets through the Ovation Ticketing Link by going to:
http://www.shortplaynyc.com/sex/

Tickets are $30 each BUT you can save $10 on each ticket by using the discount code CAST when you buy them.

The play is one of five each evening and a winner for the weekend will be awarded $100 by whoever wins the most votes from the audience.

The play is directed by Pamela Wilson and features Joan Shepard and Sophie Larin.  I’ve seen some early rehearsals and am very excited for you to see the play.

players-theater-sex-cropped

As always you can find more at http://www.walterthinnes.com or on Twitter @walterthinnes.

MEETING WITHOUT END now a Finalist

My short play MEETING WITHOUT END is a Finalist in the Rover Dramawerks Third Annual 10-Minute Play Festival in Dallas-Fort Worth.  I enter lots of competitions for festivals, roughly 50 a year or so.

They are run by big organizations and small, sometimes offer a token payment for use of the play, but most often just a chance to have your play performed for the public.  I’ve been lucky enough to get away to see a number of these performances.  If not chosen for presentation, sometimes you’ll just get bragging rights as finalist or runner-up.  As noted earlier, I’m not at all making a living from writing, this is just a hobby.

Rover Dramawerks has been especially helpful in keeping in touch with it’s writers.  Many groups just take your play and you never hear from them again.  This group has been very communicative which is deeply appreciated.  They received 308 submissions (imagine reading all of those), reduced it to 37 semi-finalists and then to 19 finalists.  Eventually they will narrow it to between 5 and 9 winners to get a production.  Even if they don’t choose it as a winner, I’m grateful they have kept me informed along the way.  I’ll be sure to submit other works for future consideration to this company.

rover-dramawerks

As always you can find more at http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes

Jitney

I recently had the opportunity to see the first Broadway production of August Wilson’s JITNEY by MTC at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  This was the first play of the cycle of plays written by Wilson but the last to reach Broadway.  I was fortunate enough to see a production of the play in 1996 shortly after I moved to Pittsburgh, just after he had revised it.

I love August Wilson’s works and this ranks high in the Pantheon.  I’ve not often been impressed with his plotting and this two has it’s clunky devices and abrupt turns.  But the musical language and strong characters and sincere raw emotions are a symphony that I could listen to over and over again.  This is a strong production with an amazing cast (that reminds us how much the TONYs need an ensemble award).  Don’t miss it because this play is a limited run and we know not when it will come around again.

bway-jitney

As always more can be found at http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes