Based in 1940s New Orleans, “A Streetcar Named Desire” will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26-29 and 2 p.m. Oct. 30 as part of the Rhodes 101 Stops and Commerce Bank Theatre and Dance Series in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.
This explosive, passionate and heartrending show is modern American theatre at its best. When fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois arrives on the doorstep of her pregnant sister Stella’s apartment building in New Orleans, she is unwittingly entering a lion’s den.
Wounded by romantic abuses, loss and dangerous mistakes, Blanche prefers her world kept in dim, flattering light, fuzzy at the edges. She is shocked by Stella’s simple existence, her new low-class habits and most of all, her crude, simple husband Stanley. He is fierce and unpredictable, moving from violence to softness in an instant, and he and Blanche begin a cruel, sadistic dance whose only possible end is pain.
With his signature poetic prose, muggy Southern Gothic setting and psychological insight, Tennessee Williams’ mighty play and his troubled, eccentric heroine, unravel before our very eyes.
“Immortalized by Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, ‘Streetcar’ is arguably the greatest American drama ever written,” said Dr. Kenneth Stilson, chair of The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance. “This Tennessee Williams’ classic is set in post-World War II New Orleans, and the riveting, steamy and volatile world of Stanley, Stella and Blanche will have audiences on the edge of their seats.”
The Southeast cast is a rich and diverse group of students whose talents and abilities are a perfect cohesion and fit for the play’s setting of New Orleans, which is a melting pot of cultures and people, said Roxanne Wellington, the play’s stage director and assistant professor of acting and voice at Southeast.
“This is going to be a fantastic production,” said Wellington. “We have an amazing cast from Blanche to Stanley. They’re all just phenomenal.”
The students are representative of the growing diversity of Southeast’s campus community. Ryan Adolph, of St. Louis, Missouri, portrays Pablo, Stanley’s Hispanic poker buddy; Emmani Cunningham of St. Louis, Missouri, plays Eunice, Stella’s friend, neighbor and landlady; Kelli Jaycox, of Ballwin, Missouri, is cast as Stella; Sean McCumber, of Boonville, Missouri, portrays Steve, Eunice’s abusive husband and Stanley’s poker buddy; and Cidney Woodson, of St. Charles, Missouri, plays the role of Blanche.
Wellington cast sophomore Jay Wade, of St. Louis, Missouri, in the pivotal role of Stanley.
“He’s one of our foremost actors and when I saw him audition, I knew that I had found my Stanley,” she said. “He was the best person for the role.”
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at RiverCampus.org/a-streetcar-named-desire.