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Gale Harold, Denise Crosby, Claudia Mason star

"Orpheus Descending"

Rarely produced Tennessee Williams classic

heats up Theatre/Theater this winter.

January 15 - February 21, 2010


LOS ANGELES - Gale Harold (Queer as Folk), Denise Crosby (Star Trek TNG), and cover girl-turned-actress Claudia Mason (Vogue, Elle, W, Cosmopolitan) head the cast of Tennessee Williams' rarely produced classic, Orpheus Descending. Rounding out the ensemble are stage and screen veterans Robert E. Beckwith, Curtis C., Francesca Casale, John Gleeson Connolly, Kelly Ebsary, Andy Forrest, Sheila Shaw and Geoffrey Wade. Independent filmmaker Lou Pepe (Lost in La Mancha) directs a six-week run, January 15 through February 21, at Theatre/Theater in Los Angeles.


Tennessee Williams' modern version of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is set in the American South of repressed desires. Guitar-playing drifter Val Xavier (Harold) arrives in a small town looking for work and the opportunity to renounce his wild ways, where he meets Lady Torrance (Crosby), a woman with a tragic past who longs for rebirth. Known as one of Williams' darker and more complex plays, Orpheus Descending explores the power of passion, art, and imagination to redeem life and return it to meaning.


"I've always been interested in work that addresses the creative process and the struggle of the artist," says Pepe, best known for his documentary films that deal with similar themes: Lost in La Mancha, The Hamster Factor and Malkovich's Mail. "Here, the artist is an outsider who has descended into a small Southern town rife with gossip, intolerance, and racism."


Pepe feels a close personal connection to Williams' play, as both an artist and a descendent of Italian immigrants. "The story is haunted by the ghost of Papa Romano," he continues. "Lady's father was an Italian immigrant bootlegger murdered by the KKK for selling liquor to a black man. Romano was also an artist - he played mandolin and sang. His death is one of many instances of violence in the play against anyone who dares to speak out in favor of equality and justice - a responsibility that Williams ascribes to the artist."


The play utilizes Williams' signature selection of secondary characters to the greatest degree, such as outsider/social outcast Carol Cutrere (Mason) and the various small town gossips who comment on the action, making up a Greek Chorus.


Orpheus Descending was a play that Williams labored over for more than seventeen years. The earliest version, called Battle of Angels, opened as Williams' first Broadway production in 1940 when he was just 29. It was almost universally condemned by critics. Williams refused to give up, rewriting it five times and finally reshaping it as a modern version of the Greek legend. "Why have I stuck so stubbornly to this play?" Williams wrote. "Well nothing is more precious to anybody than the emotional record of his youth, and you will find the trail of my sleeve-worn heart in this completed play that I now call Orpheus Descending. About 75% of it is new writing, but what is more important, I believe that I have finally managed to say in it what I wanted to say, and I feel that it now has in it a sort of emotional bridge between my early years and my present state of existence as a playwright."


Orpheus Descending opened on Broadway in 1957 with Maureen Stapleton and Cliff Robertson. In 1959, Williams and Meade Roberts turned the script into the film The Fugitive Kind, starring Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Joanne Woodward and Maureen Stapleton.



'matchless dramatic poetry'

(read full review)


TheatreTheater 5041 W Pico Blvd Los Angeles 90019.


Any questions- all info etc at 323 422 6361



4 performances only!



oh, so low


Feb 9, 10, 16,17

8pm $15

Four Places


Los Angeles Times CRITIC'S CHOICE


"Blending humor and stark ugliness - thoroughly engaging and held in sharp balance by director Robin Larsen." LA Weekly GO!


"Joel Drake Johnson's savvy and sensitive drama gets edgier by the minute, and in director Robin Larsen's riveting West Coast­premiere rendition, it's a funny and heart-wrenching vehicle for four astonishingly effective actors Rogue Machine's magnificent third-season opener sets a new artistic bar for the adventurous company." Backstage ­ Critic's Pick


"Every element of this show is finely crafted and worked to perfection. Easily one of the most refreshing, enjoyable, and all-around knockout productions you'll find anywhere in LA." World of Stage



"Insightfulcaptures the complex pain of very regular folksacting is superb." KLAS/KCLA


"A superlative cast, delicately directed, on thorny family issues that affect us all." KPFK


"Funny compelling, well written. Actors are top notchkudos for both Mr. Guirguis and director Robin Larsen for the theatre-craft. I love seeing a play put together with this much talent and craft." LA Theatre Review


"Compelling tale brilliantly inspired and empathetic." ReviewPlays.com


"Capitalizes on ripened actors to convey the drama of everyday adult life." Campus Circle

In this comedy about mother and daughters,

an everyday shopping trip takes a decidedly absurdist turn. Women find themselves examining much more than their fashion choices when surrounded by the full-length mirrors of a discount store's communal dressing room.


A World Premiere by Jennie Webb


Directed by Elina de Santos


Starring Ann Bronston, Corryn Cummins, Maia Danziger, Jaxon Duff Gwillim, Hollace Starr, Jennifer Taub & Inger Tudor


Performances begin September 24


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