EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the April 20, 2016 MD Theatre Guide Review of A Streetcar Named Desire By Lynne Menefee
Everyman Theatre is ending their 25th anniversary season in a glorious and ambitious fashion. It honors not only Modern American Theatre but also the tradition of rotating repertory. The idea is to mount two iconic plays, sometimes performed on the same day, while the creative team is charged with bringing to life two vastly different environments on the same stage. If any company is up to the task, it is Everyman. Founding Artistic Director Vincent M. Lancist and Derek Goldman give their chosen play a unique and distinct vision with breathtaking results.
Together, Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire have reached new heights and represent a monumental theatrical accomplishment for Everyman.
A Streetcar Named Desire is the perfect paring with Miller’s classic. While Salesman is stark and surreal, Streetcar is vibrant and lush. You can feel the heat. It is also the perfect balance for the cast. We get to see the actors playing the smaller roles in Salesman now take center stage. As in Salesman, the entire cast is pitch perfect, breathing full dimension into each character.
Director Goldman has ingeniously injected a chorus in the form of the magnificent singer, Kelli Blackwell, to open each scene. The songs are American standards that act as a prelude to the action about to unfold as a well as a nod to the setting – New Orleans, considered the birthplace of jazz.
A faded southern belle, Blanche DuBois (the ephemeral Beth Hylton) arrives unexpectedly at the small, shabby French Quarter apartment of her little sister, Stella (the sturdy Megan Anderson) and her husband Stanley Kowalski (an excellent Danny Gavigan).
Where Salesman’s set is sparse, Ettinger’s Streetcar set is rich in detail with an iron staircase winding up to the second level apartment with the signature architecture of the Quarter – elaborate ironwork and shuttered windows and doors. There are always people on the street and wash hangs in between the apartment buildings. Light is crucial element to the story. Blanche hides from the bright daylight as she does the sad realities of her life, throwing a Chinese lantern on a bare light bulb. Lighting designer Harold F. Burgess II and sound designer Chas Marsh again create their magic. The creative team deserves high praise for their work.
Individually these two productions are brilliant in their own right. Together, Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire have reached new heights and represent a monumental theatrical accomplishment for Everyman. Go to at least one of these productions, but do yourself a favor and go to both. Baltimore is so fortunate that Lancisi has created a company that has become one of the crown jewels of this city’s theater scene.