“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” Still Great After All These Years

images.washingtonpost.jpgThe Antaeus Theatre Company inaugurates the newly completed Kiki and David Gindler Performing Arts Center in the City of Glendale with Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

This is one of Williams’ personal favorites and Antaeus does the play proud. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is set in the 1950s and it takes on various social issues of the times, including greed, superficiality, mendacity, sexual desire, homophobia, repression and death.

The play takes place in the bedroom of the plantation home in the Mississippi Delta owned by cotton tycoon, Big Daddy (the wonderful Mike McShane) and his wife Big  Mama (Julia Fletcher),  who have just returned from the Ochsner Clinic where he was given a clean bill of health. His dysfunctional family members have gathered at the plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s 65th birthday but in truth, they are there to fight for his fortune. Unbeknownst to Big Daddy and his wife, he is dying of cancer.

When the play opens we meet Big Daddy’s younger alcoholic son, Brick (Daniel Bess) and his sexually frustrated wife, Maggie ‘the cat’ (Linda Park) who is determined to have a baby. Since Brick won’t even touch her, this seems nearly impossible. Brick is an ex football hero, who since the death of his best friend Skipper, spends every waking hour drinking.  Maggie needs him to sober up fast, so he won’t blow his chances of getting Big Daddy’s inheritance. A baby would definitely insure this, since Brick is Big Daddy’s favorite. 

He’d be my favorite too since Brick’s uptight older brother, Gooper (Michael Kirby) and his money hungry wife, Mae (Tamara Krinsky) couldn’t be more obnoxious if they tried. They’ve brought along their equally obnoxious kids, who Maggie calls ‘no neck monsters’ to parade in front of Big Daddy.

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is filled with confrontations,  hidden secrets,  brilliant, memorable dialogue and biting humor,  Williams creates bigger-than-life characters, some you root for and some you hate, but they are all unforgettable.

The whole cast, including the supporting players, John DeMita, Robert Pine, Henry Greenspan, and Eliza Lemoyne, do a good job, but in the end, it’s Mike McShane who steals the show.  He alone is worth the price of admission.

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” directed by Cameron Watson opened on March 23rd and plays through May 7th. The Kiki and David Gindler Performing Arts Center is located at 110 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205.

The remaining performances are: Thursday and Fridays at 8pm, April 13, 20, 27, May 4th ; Saturdays at 2pm, April 15, 22, 29, May 6th, Saturdays 8pm, April 15, 22, 29, May 6th and Sundays at 2pm, April 16, 23, 30, May 7th.

Tickets are $30 for Thursday and Friday and $34 Saturdays and Sundays. To purchase call 818-506-1983 or go to www.Antaeus.org.

Joan Alperin

About Joan Alperin

Joan was born in Brooklyn and spent many years working as an actress in New York City. Even though she traveled extensively, Joan couldn't imagine living anywhere else.. Well one day, she met someone at a party who regaled her with stories about living in L. A. specifically Topanga Canyon. A few weeks later she found herself on an airplane bound for Los Angeles. Joan immediately fell in love with the town and has been living here for the last twenty years and yes, she even made it to Topanga Canyon, where she now resides, surrounded by nature, deer, owls and all kinds of extraordinary alien creatures.. Joan continued acting, but for the last several years (besides reviewing plays and film) she has been writing screenplays. Joan was married to a filmmaker who created the cult classic films, (way before she knew him) Faces of Death. As a result of his huge following, they created a funny movie review show entitled Two Jews on Film, where Joan and her husband, John would review movies and rate them with bagels You can see their reviews by going to youtube.com/twojewsonfilm. Although it's now only one Jew - Joan is occasionally joined by her beautiful Pekingnese and Japanese Chin.
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