World War II was only two years in America’s rear-view mirror when playwright Tennessee Williams served notice that things were about to get a lot more sensual on Broadway.
And despite a gap of 70 years since “A Streetcar Named Desire” made its debut in 1947, it remains a powerful testament to the explosive nature of repressed sexuality.
Gamut Theatre Group has chosen “Streetcar” for its season-opening Mainstage production, once again bringing to life the swirling passions that arise when the suddenly penniless Blanche DuBois comes to stay with her pregnant sister, Stella, and tempestuous brother-in-law Stanley Kowalski in New Orleans.
Gamut’s show, which runs through Nov. 26 at Gamut Theatre, 15 N. Fourth St., in downtown Harrisburg, is directed by Gamut Artistic Director J. Clark Nicholson.
The cast features Sean Davis in the role of Stanley, made famous on stage and in film by Marlon Brando. The women are played by Amber Mann (as Blanche) and Michelle Kay Smith (as Stella). Also on hand is Ross Carmichael as Harold “Mitch” Mitchell, a friend of Stanley who is drawn to Blanche.
The script by Williams, who also wrote “The Glass Menagerie” (1944) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1955), simmers with sexual tensions and dark secrets. It also gave us lines that entered the American zeitgeist, including Blanche’s observation that she has “always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
“Streetcar” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948 and a Tony Award for acting — but for Jessica Tandy’s portrayal of Blanche, not Brando’s Kowalski. It is widely considered among the greatest plays of the 20th century.
Children are bound to be fascinated by “Mickey and Minnie’s Doorway to Magic,” a “Disney Live!” stage show that is coming to Hershey Theatre for two performances on Saturday.
Truth be told, adults are likely to find this a likable experience as well, thanks to Disney’s trans-generational characters, great music and first-rate production values.
There will also be lots of familiar scenes from movies such as “Toy Story,” “Snow White,” “Aladdin” and “Cinderella.” Highlights include a split-second transformation of Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful ball gown and Rapunzel rising into the air among floating lanterns.
The traveling show, which also features Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Tinker Bell and the occasional evil queen, will offer 1 and 4 p.m. performances at the historic theater in Derry Township.
Farcical comedies from two countries “separated by a common language,” as Sir Winston Churchill reportedly put it, are now on stage at central Pennsylvania theaters.
The ultra-British “Jeeves Intervenes,” based on stories by P.G. Wodehouse, is at Oyster Mill Playhouse in East Pennsboro Township through Nov. 19.
Meanwhile, Theatre Harrisburg presents a very American take on the Roman Empire in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at the Whitaker Center. This show also runs through Nov. 19.
The “Jeeves” books, as well as a 1990s BBC TV series based on them, are hilarious satires on the British class system, in which well-bred ninnies with incredible names like Gussie Fink-Nottle regularly make fools of themselves while working class folks like manservant Reginald Jeeves regularly have to rescue them.
Oyster Mill’s “Jeeves Intervenes,” adapted for the stage by Margaret Raether, again follows the misadventures of Jeeve’s wealthy, yet hapless boss Bertie Wooster as he tries to avoid an undesired marriage while helping old school chum Eustace Bassington-Bassington avoid an unwanted job in India.
“Forum,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, was a huge hit on Broadway in 1962, winning several Tony Awards including Best Musical and running for nearly 1,000 performances.
The story, inspired by the farces of ancient Roman playwright Plautus, centers on the misadventures of a scheming Roman slave named Pseudolus. It features many of the standard elements of modern farce, including slamming doors, bad puns and mistaken identities.
Theatre Harrisburg’s cast at Whitaker features 18 local actors and a professional orchestra.