Friday & Saturday October 19 & 20 @ 7:30pm
About "The Glass Menagerie"
The Glass Menagerie is a memory play by Tennessee Williams that premiered in 1944 and catapulted Williams from obscurity to fame. The play has strong autobiographical elements, featuring characters based on its author, his histrionic mother, and his mentally fragile sister Laura. The Glass Menagerie was Williams' first successful play. He went on to become one of America's most highly regarded playwrights.
The play premiered in Chicago in 1944. After a shaky start it was championed by Chicago critics Ashton Stevens and Claudia Cassidy, whose enthusiasm helped build audiences so the producers could move the play to Broadway where it won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award in 1945.
The Glass Menagerie opened on Broadway in the Playhouse Theatre on March 31, 1945. The cast for opening night was Eddie Dowling as Tom Wingfield, Laurette Taylor as Amanda Wingfield, Julie Haydon as Laura Wingfield, and Anthony Ross as Jim O'Connor.
Laurette Taylor's performance as Amanda set a standard against which subsequent actresses taking the role were to be judged, typically to their disadvantage. In the 2004 documentary Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There, Broadway veterans rank Taylor's performance as the most memorable of their lives.
The play won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award as Best American Play. Williams gave credit to the Chicago critics, Cassidy and Stevens, for "giving him a 'start...in a fashion'..." Cassidy wrote that the play had "the stamina of success ..." Stevens wrote that the play had "the courage of true poetry ..."