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A Streetcar Named Desire
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Williams's classic play begins with Blanche DuBois's arrival in New Orleans to stay with her sister and brother-in-law, Stella and Stanley Kowalski. The determinedly genteel Blanche is shocked by their lower-class lifestyle--and by Stanley's frequently aggressive behavior. As Blanche's secrets catch up with her, a seedy reality trumps her love for romance. Rosemary Harris embodies Blanche with all the flare, attitude and Southern drawl commonly associated with the cultural icon. The role of Stanley is so physical that his presence is diminished by the lack of a visual performance, but James Farentino's Stanley is excellent. The overall production quality is excellent with musical segues and sound effects that enhance without distracting the listeners. This recording captures the cast of the 1973 Broadway revival (which won Harris a Drama Desk award and Farentino a Theatre World award). (Feb.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Available for the first time on CD, this is a full-cast recording of Williams's famous play as performed at New York's Lincoln Center in 1973. The sound effects and music can overwhelm the production, which suffers somewhat from the lack of visuals (there is no sense of time passing, so listeners unfamiliar with the play might mistake all the action to take place over a brief period). Rosemary Harris's reading of Southern belle Blanche DuBois is excellent; her performance lends an airy, unreal quality to Blanche's follies. James Farentino plays mocking, brutal Stanley Kowalski aptly, and Patricia Connolly, too, plays Stella with suitable passivity. Better seen than heard, this is still an important recording to own. [Audio clip available through www.harperaudio.com.-Ed.]-B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara P.L., Goleta Branch, CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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