Wednesday, April 6, 2016

  GERMINAL STAGE: 4/1 – 5/1
Heartbreaking and crushing, Ed Baierlein’s glorious production of “The Glass Menagerie” is a spellbinder!

In 1944 Tennessee Williams rose to fame with a production of his four-person memory play, “The Glass Menagerie.” It’s more than a little bit autobiographical and Williams cast himself as the character, Tom, who reminisces as he narrates the proceedings.
     In the first scene Tom introduces us to his mother, Amanda and his sister, Laura. We hear how at a young age he moved with his family from the genteel culture of Mississippi to the tenements of St. Louis.
      Director Ed Baierlein not only knows how to cast this show, but he’s able to evoke the milieu in which these characters are rooted.
     Baierlein’s 1996 production of “The Glass Menagerie” won Jenny MacDonald the Best Supporting Actress nod at the Denver Drama Critics Circle Awards Ceremony.  And even though the memory of that production still burns brightly in this theatre reviewer’s memory, Germinal Stage's current production surpasses it.
     Anne Smith Myers’ Amanda is a studied realization of a faded suhthuhn belle that’s revelatory. Her acting choices in tandem with Baierlein’s directorial concept create an indelible vision of Williams’ mother.  Myers’ portrayal of Amanda exudes suhthuhn charm that’s accented by a lilting smile in her voice that sometimes threatens to break into a half-suppressed laugh. Her attempt to appear to be a paragon of suhthuhn gentility is at its height as she interacts socially with the gentleman caller in Act Three.
     Michael Gunst gives us a compassionate Tom tortured by his memories. His piercing eyes with their penetrating gaze seem to look far out beyond the spatial confines of the theatre. In his escape from the constricting, repressive home of his deluded mother he was unable to save his increasingly demented sister, Laura.  His few moments interacting with Laura onstage are filled with a profound tenderness.

     As Laura, Bethany Goodell-Faber is all luminous, shy vulnerability at first and then dissolves into excruciating soul- crushing terror in her scene with the gentleman caller.  
      Trevor Lyons is all well meaning narcissism as that gentleman caller as he imagines that he can communicate his path to success with the wilting Laura.
     We as audience get to look at all of this through the delicate glass menagerie mobile, which is also reflected in the mirror at the rear of the Wingfield living room.

     One must add that Sallie Diamond’s costume design enhances this gorgeous production beyond measure.

For spring/summer 2016, we are in residence at the newly renovated 73rd Avenue Playhouseat 73rd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard in Westminster. 

For tickets call: 303.455.7108 or go online at

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