January 2015

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Author: Barbara K. Clark

Tennessee Williams’ name is almost synonymous with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, May River Theatre’s final play of their thirteenth season. The original stage production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opened on Broadway on March 24, 1955. It was produced by the Playwrights’ Company. It is one of William’s best-known works and his personal favorite. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955.

Set in the plantation home in the Mississippi Delta of Big Daddy Pollitt, a wealthy cotton tycoon, the play examines the relationships among members of Big Daddy’s family, primarily between his son Brick and Maggie the “Cat,” Brick’s wife.

The play features several recurring motifs, such as social mores, greed, superficiality, mendacity, decay, sexual desire, repression and death. Therefore parental guidance is suggested for this production and is age appropriate for 18 years and older.

The original production starred Barbara Bel Geddes, Burl Ives, Ben Gazzara and Madeleine Sherwood. Ives and Sherwood were the only two actors who played in the film, which was made in 1958 and starred Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman.

Williams made substantial excisions and alterations to the play for a revival in 1974, and this version has been used for most subsequent revivals, which have been numerous. Produced by Ed DuPuis and directed by Jim Kadra, May River Theatre’s version features Christine Grefe (Maggie); Ron Ruckle (Brick); Tony Falgiani (Big Daddy); Sheila Kadra (Big Mama); Pat Morgan (Gooper); Jacqueline Scott (Mae); Bert Cayer (Reverend Tooker) and Chad Hsu (Doctor Baugh).

“I am pleased and proud to be directing May River Theatre’s first production of a play by Tennessee Williams. The cast is top notch and is up to William’s standards,” Kadra said.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will play February 13 through March 1 on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. at the Ulmer Auditorium at Bluffton Town Hall; it is presented with permission from Dramatists Play Service, New York, New York. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling the box office at (843) 815-5581. Box office hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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