Tennessee Williams Classic Revived at the Belasco Theatre
On February 7, 2017, The Glass Menagerie began previews at the Belasco Theatre, in a new revival of the classic play by Tennessee Williams with direction by Sam Gold. This is the eighth time The Glass Menagerie has been seen on Broadway, with the debut production having taken place in 1946. The previous revival took place just a few years ago from 2013-14, with direction by John Tiffany. That production received seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival of a Play. There have also been two major film adaptations of the play; the first was released in 1950 starring Gertrude Lawrence, and the second was released in 1987 starring Joanne Woodward, John Malkovich, and Karen Allen, with direction by Paul Newman. Nevertheless, audiences cannot get enough of this thought-provoking “memory play,” and a revival has once again found its way to Broadway. The production is directed by Sam Gold, whose previous work on Broadway includes Seminar, Picnic, The Realistic Joneses, The Real Thing, Fun Home, as well as the upcoming play A Doll’s House, Part 2. The revival is lead produced by Scott Rudin, who has once again managed to bring together a starry cast in a bona fide classic, packaging a magnificent and enticing work of theatre for modern audiences.
This time, the legendary role of Amanda Wingfield is played by the unparalleled Sally Field, who is well-known for her film roles in such movies as Forrest Gump, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Lincoln, and who has also appeared on Broadway once before in The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? in 2002. Meanwhile, the role of her son, Tom Wingfield, is played by the versatile Joe Mantello, who has performed on Broadway in such plays as The Normal Heart, and has already directed countless shows including An Act of God, Blackbird, The Humans, Airline Highway, The Last Ship, Casa Valentina, and Other Desert Cities. The role of Laura Wingfield is played by Madison Ferris, making her Broadway debut, and the role of Jim O’Connor, the gentleman caller, is played by Finn Wittrock, who has previously been seen on Broadway as Happy in the 2012 revival of Death of a Salesman, which starred Philip Seymour Hoffman. Above all, the part of Amanda Wingfield, here played by Sally Field, has long been considered a magnificent role for an actress of a certain age to demonstrate her skills. The role is based loosely on Tennessee Williams’ own mother, just as the parts of Tom and Laura are loosely autobiographical as well, representing the writer and his sister. Amanda Wingfield is a Southern belle who struggles to raise her children in difficult economic conditions, and who treats her deceased husband, represented by a framed photo on the wall, as another character in the play.
Roles Played Once Before
In fact, this is not the first time Sally Field has taken on the part of Amanda Wingfield. In a 2004 production of The Glass Menagerie at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which was directed by Gregory Mosher. As for Sam Gold, he has recently directed a production of The Glass Menagerie in Amsterdam. The entire design team for the Broadway production comes from that Amsterdam production – including Andrew Lieberman as the scenic designer, Wojciech Dziedzic as the costume designer, Adam Silverman as the lighting designer, and Bray Poor as the sound designer. Prior to the Amsterdam production, Sam Gold was reported to have discussed how he first read this play 20 years ago, when the role of Tom really spoke to him as a young man trying to find his path. Now, as the father to a daughter with his wife, the playwright Amy Herzog, he relates more to the mother, Amanda Wingfield. His insights and expertise are sure to bring out the best in the marvelous cast of this 2017 revival of The Glass Menagerie.
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