Make us your home page
Instagram

Strong cast brightens Tampa Repertory Theatre's 'The Glass Menagerie'

Emilia Sargent, left, plays Amanda, and Maggie Mularz plays her daughter, Laura, in Tennessee Williams’ memory play The Glass Menagerie.

Tampa Repertory Theatre

Emilia Sargent, left, plays Amanda, and Maggie Mularz plays her daughter, Laura, in Tennessee Williams’ memory play The Glass Menagerie.

TAMPA — Last season, Emilia Sargent had a triumph as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire with Tampa Repertory Theatre, so this season the company decided to bring her back as another classic Tennessee Williams heroine, Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie.

You might wonder if putting on two such familiar plays in consecutive seasons was going to the well once too often, but any doubt is quickly banished by Sargent's incomparable performance as Amanda, who is a more sympathetic figure than Blanche. Both are demented Southern belles, of course, but Amanda never seems delusional or pathetic, and Sargent captures her devotion to her children, as well as her essential spunk. Amid all his wistful poetics, Williams was a brilliant comic writer, and the scenes when Sargent lays on the charm as Amanda tirelessly peddles subscriptions to The Homemakers' Companion over the phone are hilarious. She's like one of those indomitable divas from a Douglas Sirk movie (though Sirk movies like Magnificent Obsession and Imitation of Life owed plenty to Williams).

Sargent is joined by a fine cast, especially Jon Gennari as Amanda's restless son, Tom, whose monologues frame the play as a lament for his handicapped sister, Laura (Maggie Mularz), and her own little world of glass figurines. Gennari makes Tom's hunger to get out into the world beyond their apartment thrillingly palpable, and the fights between him and Sargent over his constant moviegoing are perfect in their exasperating discontent. And then their scene on the fire escape, when Amanda wishes upon the moon for "success and happiness for my precious children," is an exquisite, loving moment.

Amanda also wishes for a gentleman caller for Laura, and she finally gets one in Jim, played with brash, go-getting bravado by Dan Rosenstrauch. Mularz's mousey little Laura seems virtually comatose at first, but she gradually, believably comes out of her shell in the second act, dancing an awkward waltz with Jim. It's heartbreaking when Laura blows out the candles to end the play.

As Tom says in his opening speech, The Glass Menagerie is a "memory play," and there is a gauzy, dreamlike quality to director C. David Frankel's simple production. For example, per Williams' stage instructions, when Amanda, Laura and Tom have dinner, they mime gestures of serving and eating the food with imaginary utensils. The delicate, haunting music is by Igor Santos.

John Fleming can be reached at fleming@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8716.

.if you go

The Glass Menagerie continues through Jan. 27 at the Studio Theatre on the Hillsborough Community College Ybor City campus, E Palm Avenue and N 14th Street, Tampa. Run time: 2 hours, 20 minutes, including intermission. $15, $20. Buy tickets at the door or from tamparep.org.

Strong cast brightens Tampa Repertory Theatre's 'The Glass Menagerie' 01/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 6:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bar review: Les Partners Lounge goes old-school in Clearwater

    Bars & Spirits

    There are some local places that I'm shocked aren't more well known, and I think that's the result of a general aversion to stepping out of one's comfort zone. I make regular concerted efforts to step outside of mine, which often leads me to strange and rewarding drinking establishments.

    Les Partners Lounge is an old-school, smoker-friendly cocktail lounge and live music venue tucked away in a nondescript shopping plaza in Island Estates.
  2. Local craft beer of the week: Plongeur a L'eponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

    Bars & Spirits

    Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. has a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to wild ale brewing, utilizing an open brewing approach involving uncovered fermenters in order to brew beer with local ambient microbes, reminiscent in some ways to the fermentation techniques used by rustic farmhouse breweries in Belgium …

     Plongeur a?€š€™L?ˆš??ponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, 6/23/17  Electric Chair Sour Shandy, Angry Chair Brewing, 6/30/17   Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA, Motorworks Brewing 7/7/17
  3. ‘80s acts dominate lineup of 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

    Blogs

    Oh, yes. Christmas is coming early this year to ‘80s fans in Florida. Disney’s Epcot Center has announced the lineup to its “Eat to the Beat” concert series that coincides with their annual International Food & Wine Festival.

  4. Equality Florida leader honored at Tampa U2 concert

    Briefs

    TAMPA — Equality Florida director Nadine Smith couldn't attend last week's U2 concert in Tampa, but she can tell you which of her friends had great seats for the June 14 show at Raymond James Stadium.

    Nadine Smith, Equality Florida founder and CEO, received a unique distinction last week when U2 included her in a montage of photos saluting activism and women leaders.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 23

    Events

    Leslie Odom Jr.: A solo concert by the Broadway star who won a Tony for his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton. 7 p.m., Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $35.50-$55.50. (813) 229-7827.

    Leslie Odom Jr. accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical in "Hamilton"  during the 70th Annual Tony Awards  on June 12, 2016.  (Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)