A Streetcar Named Multicultural Is Coming

Categories: Theater

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A black Stanley Kowalski?

Well, why not? We had a black Maggie the Cat just a few years ago.

And at a meet-and-greet for the Streetcar Named Desire of color (with the white folks living next door) coming to Broadway, director Emily Mann gave us the reasons.

"I knew Tennessee Williams and loved him," she said.

"He tried to get a production of color on Broadway since the '50s," she added.

"This takes place in a part of the French Quarter [of New Orleans] where the races intermingle freely.

"The first image [of the play] is a black woman and a white woman talking on the stoop."

People of color did really own plantations and owned slaves, Mann added for background.

OK, so I was sold on all that readily enough. I'm easy!

But how about the fact that some of the actors are way older than their characters?

I mean, 47-year-old Blair Underwood is playing Stanley Kowalski, who the script describes as "28 or 30." I can only suspend my disbelief so far!

Well, I talked to Underwood and I didn't have the nerve to bring up the question. Besides, it wasn't the least bit necessary.

Looking into his dreamy, unhampered-by-time face, I realized it's not going to be a problem at all!


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13 comments
blackcatsearching
blackcatsearching

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blackcatsearching
blackcatsearching

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John B
John B

It'll be interesting to see Blair's take on Stanley. Total departure from what audiences are used to from him. 

Gregorama
Gregorama

I'd like to think that American society is moving (or has already moved?) past this idea of "all-black" or "all-white" casting.  It just doesn't seem necessary anymore and seems, frankly, a bit dated to me.  If we're really going to have a fully-integrated society, why must it be so cut-and-dried?  I don't think that in 2012 one goes to see "a black Halle Berry film" or buy a "black Rihanna recording"?  Perhaps I'm naïvely optimistic, but this just seems to be a step backwards to me.   I'm all-for blurring the color line wherever possible, but not every single dramatic work is necessarily adaptable to whatever a director's "vision" might be.  On the same token, say a producer were to announce an 'all-white' "A Raisin in the Sun" or "Porgy and Bess"....they'd be crucified. 

Deev
Deev

I'm all for mixing up races in roles so non whites can play anything they want, not just the same limited number of roles that have been ascribed to them.

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

Bernadette pulled off playing younger in Follies. Then again she's always looked 30.

Ynnocence
Ynnocence

Besides, it's the stage. I once watched a production of Cavalleria rusticana at the Met, where the star-crossed lovers were played by a middle-aged roly-poly couple and you could hear the audience twitter when they first appeared. By the end everyone was on their feet, giving one of the longest standing ovations I've seen. Sheer performative power - it always gets ya thru the night.

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

Blair will make an interesting 28 year old Polack.

Bryer
Bryer

I hope it's better than the black Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

VonD
VonD

Just please let him take his shirt off! Have you ever seen that man's nipples! I needed a cigarette after just a glance!

John B
John B

Raisin has race specific themes and wouldn't make sense to reverse cast. Streetcar I think can get away with it. Would I rather see original all black shows? Of course. But this will put butts in seats and that's the bottom line on Broadway.

Mark
Mark

True but it's a Streetcar "of color" meaning it's multiculti. Like Musto wrote, the people next door are now white. And I believe Daphne Rubin vega is playing Stella.

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