Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke brings the heat of the South to
the Hilberry Theatre
Detroit, MI – The Hilberry Theatre continues its 49th season with Tennessee Williams’ American classic, Summer and Smoke, opening Friday, February 24, 2012. University of Windsor professor Lionel Walsh directs this sultry Southern tale, which runs in rotating repertory at the Hilberry with Frank Langella’s Cyrano and the upcoming Major Barbara until April 21, 2012. Tickets are $12-$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at Hilberry.com, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock.
Summer and Smoke tells the story of Alma, a minister’s daughter, who cannot resist her attraction to the rakish and inspiring young doctor, John, who lives next door. Like moths to a flame, their relationship becomes an emotional battle of wills when her spiritual devotion is pitted against his sensuous need for physical desire. In the end, they are forced to temper their attraction for one another against their divergent attitudes toward life as their roles inevitably reverse. In this gripping play, smoke fills the air from the fiery tension that burns between two polar opposites who are connected by a conflicting, yet undeniable, love that ignites during one scorching Mississippi summer.
Dramatist and fiction writer Tennessee Williams is noted as one of the greatest playwrights in American history. He is best known for his plays Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire; each won him a Pulitzer Prize. His childhood spent in Clarksdale, Mississippi had a tremendous impact on his life and the creative style expressed in his work. His love of the South permeates his plays and is essential to his storytelling.
A Canadian native, Walsh’s experience in the South, where he was a student in Virginia, gives the Hilberry’s production of Summer and Smoke the keen advantage of an insider’s perspective. He attributes the “oppression of southern foliage” as a distinct influence. Concurrently, his time in the South gave Walsh an affinity with Williams’ work, describing it as “romantic and not stuck in realism; it’s so wonderful [Williams] is willing to go out on the edge and reveal the human condition. Audiences will be surprised at the humor embedded in the history and tragedy of his work.”
The Hilberry cast members include (in alphabetical order): Alec Barbour (Archie Kramer), Danielle Cochrane (Mrs. Winemiller), Megan Dobbertin (Nellie), Christopher Ellis (Reverend Winemiller), Brent Griffith (Vernon), Sara Hymes (Mrs. Basset), Edmund Alyn Jones (Gonzales), Andrew Papa (John Buchanan, Jr.), Topher Payne (Dusty), Joshua Blake Rippy (Dr. John Buchanan, Sr.), Vanessa Sawson (Rosa Gonzales), David Sterritt (Roger Doremus) and Lorelei Sturm (Alma Winemiller) .
The production team includes: Lionel Walsh (Director), Veronica Zahn (Stage Manager), Michael Peters (Assistant Stage Manager), Leazah Behrens (Technical Director), Peter Schmidt (Scenic Designer), Rudolph C. Schuepbach (Properties Master), Tyler Ezell (Sound Designer), John Woodland (Costume Designer), Samuel G. Byers (Lighting Designer), and Alex Goodman (Publicity Manager).
February 24, 2012 – April 21, 2012
Wednesday 2 p.m. Feb. 29
Thursday 8 p.m. March 1, 22, April 19
Friday 8 p.m. Feb. 24, March 2, 23, April 20
Saturday 2 p.m. Feb. 25, April 21
Saturday 8 p.m. Feb. 25, March 3, 24, April 21