One of the greatest works of American drama, A Streetcar Named Desire is widely considered to be a revolutionary play. At the time it was written and first performed, the dramatic tradition of melodrama was beginning to wane in favor of dramatic naturalism. The culture clash between the histrionics of Blanche, a fading relic of a noble, Southern tradition, and the gritty realism of Stanley, a hard, modern rebel, represents a fundamental change in the face of American theatre. Streetcar opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947, and was enthusiastically received by critics and audiences alike. It ran for over two years, until December 17, 1949, and received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.
Some of the greatest actors of our time have placed their stamp on the iconic characters in this play. The original Broadway cast included the great Marlon Brando (Julius Caesar, The Godfather) and a then-unknown Jessica Tandy (Fried Green Tomatoes, Driving Miss Daisy). The 1949 London production was directed by the eminent Laurence Olivier. To date, the list of actors to portray these memorable characters includes: Tallulah Bankhead, Rosemary Harris, Blythe Danner, Aidan Quinn, Frances McDormand, Alec Baldwin, Jessica Lange, Natasha Richardson, John C. Reilly, Cate Blanchett, and Rachel Weisz. Actors often jump at the chance to tackle the great characters that define this play. Get your A Streetcar Named Desire tickets today to see why.Plot Synopsis:
Fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois arrives at the New Orleans home of her sister, Stella Kowalski, with a large trunk, indicating that she plans to stay a while despite their less-than-close relationship. Blanche tells Stella that she has lost their ancestral home in Laurel Mississippi after the deaths of their last remaining relatives and that she has been given a leave of absence from her teaching job because of her weak nerves. Her instant distaste with the working-class neighborhood earns her the disfavor of Stella's husband, Stanley, who distrusts her and soon discovers the extent of her financial hardship as well as her severe alcoholism.
Soon, Blanche discovers that Stanley is abusive to Stella, but she remains in love with him despite and because of their tempestuous dynamic and animal attraction to one another. When Blanche tries to convince Stella to leave Stanley for a man of higher social standing, Stanley threatens her with hints that he has heard shameful secrets of her past. Blanche confides in a suitor, Mitch, that years ago, her young husband committed suicide when she discovered his homosexual affairs. He tells her of a lost love in his past and they grow closer.
A month later, on the afternoon of Blanche's birthday, Stanley informs Blanche that he has discovered the secrets in her past: after losing her home, she moved into a rundown motel where she had numerous sexual encounters, for which she was eventually evicted, and she was fired from her teaching job for having an affair with a student. Blanche is horrified to hear that Stanley has also told Mitch her secrets. She sinks into an alcohol-fueled depression and laments that her relationship with Mitch is over.
When Stella is in the hospital following the birth of her and Stanley's baby, Stanley comes home to find Blanche drunk and insisting that a rich former suitor is coming for her. He knows she is imagining the whole thing but offers to celebrate their good fortune anyway. When Blanche cruelly spurns him and becomes violent, he overpowers her and eventually rapes her. Weeks later, Blanche has clearly lost her grip on reality. Believing she is going to meet her suitor, she is taken by a doctor to the insane asylum as Stella and Mitch look on in sadness.
Order your A Streetcar Named Desire tickets today to experience this intensely powerful drama live.Advisory: Appropriate for late teens and older (adult themes, violence, sexual content). Creative Team: Playwright Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire News: April 22, 2012 The Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire opens at the Broadhurst Theatre! August 23, 2011 Tony Award nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent's original Mimi) has signed on to play Stella in the Broadway revival of Streetcar!