Spend just a few minutes in a room with the company of A Streetcar Named Desire and one thing is immediately clear: this is the hottest cast on Broadway. And I don’t just mean physically attractive, though Blair Underwood (In Treatment), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), Nicole Ari Parker (Boogie Nights) and Wood Harris (The Wire) are a stunning foursome . No, their heat is also a product of their passion for the work and an outspoken determination to make this revival, the first multicultural Streetcar on Broadway, a richer, deeper experience.
In the run-up to their first preview (tonight at the Broadhurst), the entire cast and their director Emily Mann gathered at B. Smith’s to talk about the genesis of this production, the ghosts of prior versions of the play and why this will be one of the steamiest stage trips to New Orleans you’ll ever take. (And just to sweeten the deal, check out our special discount code for tickets at the end of the post!)
On the decision to do an interracial production:
Mann: “It’s sort of why not? What took so long? It’s such an obvious way to do this play. It’s the meaning of New Orleans; to have that gumbo of ethnicities and races makes the city the incredible and unique place it is in America. …Tennessee [Williams] himself wanted always to see the play done this way. He had hoped it would be done on Broadway in 1955 but it was Sweet Bird of Youth, I think, that was premiering and they didn’t want two of his own shows to be competing on Broadway. So it never happened. But he gave permission all through his life to have this done and I think he’d be thrilled by what we are doing today.”
On the draw of Streetcar:
Underwood: “…it’s Tennessee Williams. It’s beautiful. Poetry. It’s human. It’s brutal. It’s vulnerable. It’s passionate. It’s desire. It’s all of those things. That’s why it’s an iconic play. That’s why it’s a classic. That’s why people should come see it.”