The 2012 season of the Theater of the American South, a professional theater founded in 2006, will include Tennessee Williams’ 1948 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, A Streetcar Named Desire, and A Tuff Shuffle: Backstage with Louis Armstrong, a critically acclaimed one-man show written and performed by Danny Mullen. A Tuff Shuffle will play May 10-27 in the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre at Barton College in Wilson, NC; and A Streetcar Named Desire will play May 11-27 in the Edna Boykin Cultural Center in downtown Wilson.
According to the Theater of the American South:
“[We present] top-quality plays featuring professional directors, actors, and designers. Performances are presented in the Boykin Cultural Center, a showpiece vaudeville theater built in 1919 and beautifully restored in the late 1990s, and the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre, a new and intimate venue on the campus of Barton College.
“A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams: One of the greatest of all American plays, A Streetcar Named Desire launched the career of Marlon Brando and was made into a major motion picture that won four  Academy Awards®. Set in the French Quarter of New Orleans, this powerful, enduring play pits fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois against Stanley Kowalski, the rough-hewn husband of her sister Stella. Stanley strips away Blanche’s pretensions and derails her frantic efforts to cling to respectability, ultimately reducing her to the desperation of her signature line: ‘I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.’ Playwright Tennessee Williams [1911-83] won a  Pulitzer Prize for A Streetcar Named Desire, which ran for over two years on Broadway…. Marc Fajer directs a cast that includes Betsy Henderson as Blanche, Jason Sharp as Stanley, Lilley Nelson as Stella, and Jason Peck as Mitch.
“[A Tuff Shuffle: Backstage with Louis Armstrong] by Danny Mullen: Legendary singer and trumpeter Louis Armstrong [1901-71] was among the 20th century’s most celebrated performers. Born into poverty in New Orleans, ‘Satchmo’ parlayed tremendous musical virtuosity and an exuberant personality to reach the heights of American music and popular culture. His raspy-voiced renditions of ‘What a Wonderful World,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!,’ and ‘When the Saints Go Marching In’ remain classics to this day. Backstage with Louis Armstrong features the great entertainer in his element: holding court after a show, regaling visitors with hilarious stories and tender anecdotes. Acclaimed actor Danny Mullen has delighted audiences from New York to New Orleans in this one-man show he created.
“Theater of the American South’s plays will be enriched by complementary speaker programs on the first two Saturdays of the festival. On May 12th, Duke University professor Thomas Brothers, author of Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans, will speak prior to the matinee performance of [A Tuff Shuffle]. On May 19th, Tennessee Williams authority Kimball King of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be the speaker prior to the matinee performance of A Streetcar Named Desire. The festival will also feature a Barbecue Bash, Quilts of the American South, New Orleans cooking, gospel services, and other cultural events.”
For a complete schedule of events, click http://www.theateroftheamericansouth.org/events.html.
Theater of the American South presents A TUFF SHUFFLE: BACKSTAGE WITH LOUIS ARMSTRONG, written and performed by Danny Mullen, at 8 p.m. May 10, 2 p.m. May 12, 7:30 p.m. May 13, 8 p.m. May 18 and 19, 8 p.m., 2 p.m. May 20, 8 p.m. May 25, 2 p.m. May 26, and 7:30 p.m. May 27 in the Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre at Barton College, 700 Vance Street NE, Wilson, North Carolina 27893; and A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at 8 p.m. May 11 and 12, 2 p.m. May 13, 8 p.m. May 17, 2 p.m. May 19, 7:30 p.m. May 20, 8 p.m. May 24 and 26, and 2 p.m. May 27 at the Edna Boykin Cultural Center, 108 Nash St. NE, Wilson, North Carolina 27893.
TICKETS: $20 ($18 students and seniors 60+), and group rates are available.
BOX OFFICE: 252-291-4329, ext. 10, or http://www.etix.com/.
INFORMATION: 919-783-9671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASSOCIATED EVENTS: http://www.theateroftheamericansouth.org/events.html.
Boykin Cultural Center: http://www.theateroftheamericansouth.org/boykin_theater.html.
Lauren Kennedy and Alan Campbell Theatre: http://www.barton.edu/theatre/ (theater) and http://www.barton.edu/geninfo/map.htm (map/directions to Barton College).
A Streetcar Named Desire (play): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Streetcar_Named_Desire_(play) (Wikipedia).
A Streetcar Named Desire (study guide): http://www.bard.org/education/studyguides/Streetcar/streetcar.html (Utah Shakespeare Festival).
A Streetcar Named Desire (script): http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).
Tennessee Williams: http://www.olemiss.edu/mwp/dir/williams_tennessee/index.html (Mississippi Writers Page) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Williams (Wikipedia).
Danny Mullen: http://www.dannymullen.com/ (official website).
Louis Armstrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Armstrong (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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