Glass Menagerie Cast Talks Back Nov. 13

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 4, 2008) – The University of South Florida College of Visual & Performing Arts' School of Theatre and Dance presents Tennessee Williams’ drama, The Glass Menagerie, in Theatre II on the Tampa campus Nov. 6 - 8 and 12 - 15 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 9 and 16 at 3 p.m. There will be a talkback with the actors and director following the Nov. 13 performance.

Theatre program assistant director C. David Frankel helms the USF production, and notes that, “while the play is an American classic, much produced and discussed, and often character driven and motivated, Tennessee Williams saw it as experimental. Likewise, our production will make it seem fresh and new.”

An unusual, but not premeditated feature of the production is the casting of twin sisters in the roles of mother and daughter. “Having twins (theatre students Vanessa and Raechel Nolan) play Amanda and Laura will add something to the play,” the director said, “but individually, they were the best choices for the roles. Their ‘twin-ness’ is a bonus.”

The production’s set designer, TheatreUSF’s technical director Jason Winfield, feels a strong connection to the play, not solely due to the fact that he virtually shares the Wingfield family name, but also because it is set in St. Louis, where he grew up. “The Glass Menagerie is unique in what it offers to a designer. This production very much takes on the memory aspects of the play, breaking down the realism, so that on the set there will be real places, as well as places that seem to fade away,” he said.

The Glass Menagerie premiered in Chicago in 1944 and in 1945 won the prestigious New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play of the season, establishing Williams’ reputation as an American playwright of note. It is generally considered to be his most autobiographical work. “A central element of the play is its concern with the pressures that money troubles can exert upon the social fabric. As Frankel observed, “The Glass Menagerie, set at the end of the Depression, focuses on the ways in which economic hard times affect and disrupt family dynamics. It turns out that the play has considerable resonance to the contemporary period, and to our current economic uncertainty.”

Tickets for all performances may be purchased through the College of Visual & Performing Arts box office by calling (813) 974-2323 or online at

The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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