by Kevin Allman
While Southern Rep's production of A Streetcar Named Desire has added a performance due to crowds and great reviews (read Will Coviello's take here), a reimagined staging begins previews tomorrow night at the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway. This version features a black cast led by Blair Underwood as Stanley ... but not Stanley Kowalski:
Underwood views his Stanley—in this show, the Polish last name Kowalski will be dropped—as a man-child, and the actor has clearly worked hard to reconcile his character's obvious failings with Underwood's natural sympathy for anyone he plays: "I do like Stanley very much. I don't like what he does. He's a flawed person, to say the least."
More from The Village Voice's Michael Musto:
As you know, Tennessee Williams' culture-clash classic A Streetcar Named Desire is coming to Broadway any moment now, featuring a cast of color. Well, at a Drama Desk panel discussion at Sardi's the other day, Blair Underwood—who's playing the old Brando role, the brutish Stanley Kowalski—said he's just Stanley now.
"Do I look Polish?" he cracked to host Elyssa Gardner from USA Today.
Underwood went on to reveal: "We got permission from the Tennessee Williams estate to take out the 'Kowalskis'."
What's more interesting (to me, at least) is that this new Streetcar features music by the great Terence Blanchard. It runs for 16 weeks only, so if you want to see it, plan your trip to New York now.