I’m catching up after a very busy fall season here in the land of performing arts plenty, and this is the first installment. Look for more coming in the next few days.
“The Glass Menagerie” launched Tennessee Williams in a big way, the first big step in the upward trajectory of his luminous career. It’s a deeply autobiographical memory play, and at the center is Amanda, based on Williams’s mother, a woman given to flights of anger and longing for a lost past. Victoria Finlayson gave the audience a pitch-perfect performance in this demanding role. Also giving stellar performances were Stan Hoffman as Tom (Williams) and Paige Tautz as Laura (Williams’s sister Rose, and a bit of himself) rounding out the family. As always, director John Blondell and the company put the Lit Moon stamp of delightfully different on this icon of American theater. An interesting twist was to have Chris Wagstaffe portray a silent Mr. Wingfield and former beaus of Amanda, animating some of the memories that haunt the play. Mr. Wagstaffe also gave a wonderful performance as the gentleman caller Jim O’Conner, bringing intensity and a little tenderness to a character who is bit of a blowhard covering for his own disappointments. The descending scenery as the play crashes to its tragic end was a perfect Lit Moon touch.