There’s going to be a whole lotta crazy and a whole lotta steam on Broadway this spring thanks to the upcoming revival of Tennessee Williams’ New Orleans-set A Streetcar Named Desire. Daphne Rubin-Vega (above, in the peach nighty) will be suffering like hell as former rich girl Stella. Nicole Ari Parker (in the red kimono) will be vamping it up as her faded Southern belle sister, Blanche. Wood Harris will be sexually frustrated as Blanche’s patient paramour, Mitch. The French Quarter, where they live, will be swinging to original music by jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard. And, of course, Blair Underwood (below, eating oranges) will get soaking wet and scream “Hey, Stella!” in his Broadway debut as Stanley.
If anything, the show promises to be hot, dramatic, and different: This is the first time the 65-year-old Streetcar has been produced on Broadway with an all non-white main cast. But don’t get up in arms about the reimaging of the classics or because “reboots” of works by dead Caucasian playwrights could be taking up space that might otherwise go to up-and-coming African-American and Latino writers. “I think there is room for both,” says Underwood, adding that, “Tennessee Williams was very connected to the racial diversity of the French Quarter. It’s even in the opening of the script, ‘Two women, one white and one colored, are taking the air on the steps of the building… for New Orleans is a cosmopolitan city where there is a relatively warm and easy intermingling of the races in the old part of town.’ Williams lived there and understood it.”
NEXT: Underwood and Rubin-Vega’s steamy staircase scene
Daphne Rubin-Vega as Stella and Blair Underwood as Stanley.
Underwood as Stanley raises a beer with the card players.
A Streetcar Named Desire opens on Apr. 22 at the Broadhurst Theatre.