The Maryland Ensemble Theatre will present the fourth show in its fifteenth anniversary season: Tennessee Williams' much-lauded classic, The Glass Menagerie. The Glass Menagerie is an American masterpiece that announced the presence of one of the greatest dramatists of the 20th Century. Williams' semi-autobiographical heartbreaking yet often humorous memory play about a young struggling poet and his tenuous relationships with his overbearing mother and his fragile sister is an emotionally charged portrait of hope in 1930s St. Louis that is timeless in its ability to capture the imagination and hearts of audiences.
The original Broadway production won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1945 and has inspired two movie adaptations (one in 1950 starring Kirk Douglas and another in 1987 starring Paul Newman and JoAnne Woodward), multiple radio and TV productions (including one 1973 TV adaptation starring Katharine Hepburn), and countless stage productions. As Broadway Magazine puts it: "Glass may break, candles may go out, but The Glass Menagerie endures. Unarguably one of the greatest American plays ever written."
In Maryland Ensemble Theatre's production, associate artist Peter Wray directs the tightly-knit cast. MET Associate Artistic Director Julie Herber stars as Amanda Wingfield, the fading Southern belle yearning for the good old days while trying to keep her family together at the same time. The production also features MET ensemble members Vanessa Strickland as Laura, Matt Lee as narrator Tom, and Joe Jalette as pot-stirrer Jim. Wray and the actors are assisted by stage manager Caitlin Joy, assistant stage manager Courtney McLaughlin, lighting designer Paul Schillinger, costume designer Jennifer Adams, set designer Ira Domser, sound designer Kevin Lloyd and prop master James McGarvey.
Playwright Tennessee Williams, a treasure of the American theatre, was born in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1911. Born Thomas Lanier Williams III, he got the nickname Tennessee in college. His family life, like the Wingfields', was turbulent, which reportedly inspired his short story "Portrait of a Girl in Glass" that would become The Glass Menagerie. Buoyed by the success of Menagerie, William's would go on to pen other classics of the American stage including A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955).
Maryland Ensemble Theatre's production of The Glass Menagerie will run from February 7 to March 3, every Thursday through Sunday at the MET, located in the historic FSK Hotel at 31 W. Patrick Street. A $5 preview performance (cash only/no reservations) will take place on Thursday, February 7 at 8PM. There will be a gala opening on Sunday, February 10 at 6pm sponsored by Mistero preceding the 7PM performance. Tickets are $15 through $24 and can be purchased at 301.694.4744, marylandensemble.org, or in person at the MET box office. The show is recommended for ages 12 and up.
The MET has brought provocative, invigorating theatre to the Frederick region for over fifteen years with family entertainment, bellyfuls of laughs with the Comedy Pigs, artist-in-residence programs in local public schools, and classes for all ages.