Photo– Matteo Scammell as Stanley and Emilie Krause as Stella. By Wide Eyed Studios
What a way to come back! Arden Theatre Company’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire held one performance back in 2020 before everything shut down! Now, after close to two years, the house is open and the story is officially on at the theatre’s main stage! A powerful cast of Arden Theatre regulars along with the direction of Arden Artistic Director Terry Nolen make the classic drama a must for your celebratory return to the theatre this season!
Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire was first performed on Broadway in 1947. Just before the Broadway move, though, the play had brief runs in New Haven, Connecticut and right here in Philadelphia at the Walnut Street Theatre. The show takes us to New Orleans where we meet Blanche DuBois, a once rich Southern Belle who comes to Louisiana to visit her sister, Stella. There, she’s introduced to Stella’s less than glamourous lifestyle with her husband Stanley Kowalski. Stanley is constantly skeptical of what Blanche says and questions the inheritance he expects Stella to receive, all while Stella herself tries to keep the peace between everyone at the house. A Streetcar Named Desire is an intense experience with characters unraveling and truths coming to light. It’s heartbreaking, deep, and real.
The Arden cast is phenomenal and it’s so great to witness their efforts finally back on stage after the shutdown. Watch a performance and you’ll see that these lines and emotional monologues took a lot of work to perfect; everyone was amazing. Katharine Powell as Blanche is insanely good and it’s clear the role is a lot of work! Emilie Krause seems to really understand who Stella is. Matteo Scammell as Stanley- if I didn’t know any better, I’d believe the character of Stanley was created specifically for him. Akeem Davis as Mitch, Walter DeShields as Steve, and Taysha Canales as Eunice in supporting roles balance the cast and help create the atmosphere of the story. A Streetcar Named Desire is nothing to joke around about. This cast is the real deal.
The Arden’s theatre-in-the-round set up for Streetcar works very well, wrapping the audience around the action and pulling you in from every direction. The characters have secrets, flaws, raw emotions that are exposed throughout the show. Having the audience surround the stage rather than looking in from just one side allows us to be even more consumed with the story.
A Streetcar Named Desire runs through February 15th. Support Philly’s theatres and the incredible actors that work in our city. Additionally, consider supporting the restaurants in Old City too by making dinner plans or picking up take out after a matinee. A lot of love and support goes into the Arden’s programming so we can safely enjoy live theatre for years to come. For tickets and Covid safety policies, please visit the website.