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Mar 3, 2016 6:39 EST

Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams

iCrowdNewswire - Mar 3, 2016
Beth Bartley and Irene Glezos in Provincetown in 2010 at the beginning of this journey. Photo by Ernest Marius
Beth Bartley and Irene Glezos in Provincetown in 2010 at the beginning of this journey. Photo by Ernest Marius

The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival changed my life. 

Spending a week in the waterfront artist colony at the tip of Cape Cod, where Tennessee Williams lived in the 1940s, was an unforgettable experience. I was there in 2009, working on a Williams one-act The Lady of Larkspur Lotion with director, Andrew McGinn, and amazing actress, Brenda Currin, who was marvelous as Mrs. Wire. When I returned home to New York, I promised myself I would continue to work on Tennessee Williams. I rented a small theatre in the East Village and organized a reading of my favoirte Williams play, Orpheus Descending. It went smashingly well, so I organized a second reading, which led to an invitation to bring the play to Provincetown

For me, it all began in Cincinnati, Ohio where I saw Ginny Hoffman and Gary Sandy in A Streetcar Named Desire. I must have been about 13 at the time. Shortly after, I saw the Vanessa Redgrave film version of Orpheus Descending and I have been a fervent Williams devotee ever since.

Irene Glezos, who has also had a long standing devotion to Williams and to this play in particular, was born to play Lady Torrance. When we performed Orpheus in Provincetown, audiences were so riveted by her acting, upon exiting the theater, they were overheard exclaiming, “That was the best performance I’ve ever seen in my life!”

Beth Bartley as Carol Cutrere. Photo by Talfoto.com
Beth Bartley as Carol Cutrere. Photo by Talfoto.com

Together, Irene Glezos and I have shared a resolve to perform a run of Orpheus Descending in New York City. 

It took us years to secure the NY rights, but we did secure them, and now, we have a fantastic Greenwich Village venue, a wonderful director who knew and worked with Tennesee Williams, and a dream cast and design team. All we need is the funding to make it happen.

About the Director:

Austin Pendleton has been most recently represented as a director in New York by the world premiere production of Between Riverside and Crazy, by Stephen Adly Guirgis, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. And also by Hamlet, at CSC, which starred Peter Sarsgaard. In 1957, Pendleton played Mr. Dubinsky in a production of Orpheus Descending as an apprentice at Williamstown, he later went on to direct a production 19 years later at Williamstown with Olympia Dukakis. Other directing credits include Uncle Vanya at the CSC with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Vieux Carre at the Pearl, Detroit at the National Theatre in London, and The Little Foxes with Elizabeth Taylor and Maureen Stapleton, to name a few. Austin was the recipient of the 2007 Drama Desk special award as Renaissance Man of the American Theatre, an honor bestowed for his work as an actor, director, and writer.

Thomas Beaudoin will play Valentine Xavier. Photo by Jeff An
Thomas Beaudoin will play Valentine Xavier. Photo by Jeff An

About the Cast: 

(Click on names for IMDb credits)

Thomas Beaudoin (The Blacklist, The Spirit of Christmas, upcoming Blue Moon series, La Dame Aux Camelias) as Valentine Xavier, Brenda Currin (In Cold BloodR.E.D.SWorld According to GarpThree Penny Opera at Lincoln Center, Suddenly Last Summer) as Beulah Binnings, Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey, Doubles, Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Jabe Torrance and Mia Dillon (Crimes of the Heart, Agnes of God, Tony and Drama Desk nominated) as Vee Talbott. Karen Lynn Gorney (Saturday Night Fever, All My Children, Sopranos) will play Eva Temple, Penny Lynn White (Metamorphoses, Museum at the Public Theater) as Sister Temple, Lou Liberatore (As Is, Burn This Tony and Drama Desk nominated) as David Cutrere, Michele Tauber (Pig Iron Theater Company’s I Promised Myself to Live Faster, Christmas Carol at McCarter, The Acting Company) as Nurse Porter, David Pendleton (All My Children, vocalist with “The Platters”) as Uncle Pleasant/Conjure Man,  Tom Drummer as Sheriff Talbott, Randi Sobol as Dolly Hamma, Jim Heatherly as Pee Wee, Skid Maher as Dog Hamma/2nd Man, and David Roby (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Mr. Dubinsky/First Man.

Set and prop design by Carrie Mossman, costume design by Tony French, light design by Susannah Baron, dramaturgy by Annette J. Saddik, Ph.D.,  associate producer and box office management by Brooke Lynn Tibbs, Stage Management by Robert Neapolitan, and ASM and costume assistance by Lefty Lucy. Additional prop design and assistance by Duncan Becker and Logan Faust.

Your contributions will go directly to the expenses related to producing this extraordinary play in New York City this April and May: costumes, sets, props, lighting, actors and designers’ compensation, and publicity. 

Please like our Facebook page “Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams” and help us spread the word.

We have less than 45 days to reach our goal. If we do not reach our goal, we do not receive any of the money! It’s all or nothing with Kickstarter, so please do your part and contribute whatever you can as soon as you can. The sooner we reach our goal, the sooner we can get to work.

Beth Bartley with Mississippi State Senator Wendell "Hob" Bryan, who has been a huge supporter of this project. At the governor's mansion in Jackson, MS, where Carol Cutrere tried to walk barefoot in a burlap sack.
Beth Bartley with Mississippi State Senator Wendell “Hob” Bryan, who has been a huge supporter of this project. At the governor’s mansion in Jackson, MS, where Carol Cutrere tried to walk barefoot in a burlap sack.
In Williams' birthplace, Columbus, Mississippi, Beth Bartley and Brenda D. Caradine, a crusader for Orpheus Descending
In Williams’ birthplace, Columbus, Mississippi, Beth Bartley and Brenda D. Caradine, a crusader for Orpheus Descending
Irene Glezos in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Photo by Ernest Marius
Irene Glezos in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Photo by Ernest Marius

                    

Beth Bartley and Jef Hall-Flavin, who will direct the Southern Rep production of Orpheus Descending this March in New Orleans. Jef is the Executive director of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.
Beth Bartley and Jef Hall-Flavin, who will direct the Southern Rep production of Orpheus Descending this March in New Orleans. Jef is the Executive director of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival.

 

Contact Information:

Beth Bartley, Irene Glezos

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