“Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody” Review - Delicious

 

In the lobby of Writers Theatre, Photo: B.Keer

“Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody” was such an intriguing title, my husband and I were immediately drawn to the opportunity to find out what this was about.  An added bonus was that this inaugural production was in the GillianTheatre. Writers Theatre’s new theater center at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe providing us the opportunity to see this amazing new building. Created by Tim Ryder and Tim Sniffen, written by Tim Sniffen, directed by Stuart Carden and Artistic Director Michael Halberstam, it is just opening and due to popular demand, the production has already been extended by two weeks and now plays from April 27, 2016 – Aug 14, 2016.

  

Hoogenakker, Perez, Fortunato, Woditsch

I experienced this wonderful tongue-in-cheek salute to celebrated icons of American drama not only as an antidote at time when the world is looking pretty bleak, but also as therapy.  With slices of A Streetcar Named Desire, Death of a Salesman, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Our Town, the mixture came together as something delicious.

  

Jennifer Engstrom as Bleanch DuBois and, Marc Grapey as Willy Loman

The story that brings all of this together is a mysterious invitation received by the protagonists of each of the plays mentioned in the title. First it brings Blanche DuBois back to New Orleans where she finds herself once again face-to-face with the smoldering Stanley Kowalski.  (Boy, is he smoldering!) A car crash ushers in that luckless salesman that we all know -Willy Loman.  Then very soon another couple we also know well, that hard-drinking, hard-fighting couple George and Martha, arrive on a train.  Holding it all together is a folksy Stage Manager and the comic genius of The Second City team.  

  

Narrator Sean Fortunato with Jennifer Engstrom as Blanch DuBois on the porch

Remarkably, “Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody” is the 22nd world premiere Writers Theatre has produced in its 24 seasons of existence. Kudos to Writers Theatre!

  

Karen Jane Woditsch as Martha and John Hoogenakker as George

I had seen photos of the newly designed Writers Theatre but being there was a very different experience. Everywhere I looked, there was something interesting to see. There was a rhythm and energy to the space. I was impressed not only by the green design but educational information on the value of public transportation and other green behaviors. “Designed by internationally renowned architect Jeanne Gang, Founder and Design Principal of Studio Gang Architects, the new theatre center is sustainably designed with a focus on renewable materials and is pursuing LEED Gold Certification.”  - Writers Theatre website.

 

Karen Janes Woditsch as Martha and John Hoogenakker as George in New Orleans

Entering the theatre, I immediately felt as though I was in New Orleans with the set decorations extending over the audience.  The outstanding cast includes: Jennifer Engstrom (Blanche DuBois) Marc Grapey (Willy Loman), John Hoogenakker (George), Michael Perez (Stanley Kowalski), and Karen Janes Woditsch (Martha) and the stage manager (Sean Fortunato).

 

Jennifer Engstrom as Blanch DuBois returns to New Orleans and Michael Perez as Stanley Kowalski

The set, costumes, lighting, sounds and acting that sizzled, kept the audience laughing almost continuously throughout and culminated in a standing ovation.  It tickled my brain.  I loved it.  Do yourself a favor and head to Glencoe.  Don’t miss it. Now extened to August 14.

  

Marc Grapey, Sean Fortunato,Michael Perez, and John Hoogenakker in a bowling scene

Writers Theatre

325 Tudor Ct, Glencoe, IL 60022

Phone:(847) 242-6000

 

 

Photos:  Michael Brosilow unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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