Summer and Smoke

By: Tennessee Williams
Director: David Warren
Sets: Derek McLane
Costumes: Martin Pakledinaz
Lighting: Brian MacDevitt
Music and Sound: John Gromada
Casting: Pat McCorkle
Production Stage Manager: Roy Harris
Opened: 9/96 at the Roundabout, Criterion Center Stage Right
Cast: Nathalie Paulding, Chad Aaron, Ken Jenkins, Roberta Maxwell, Harry Hamlin, Elisabeth Zambetti, Todd Weeks, James Pritchett, Mary McDonnell, Lisa Leguillou, Hayley Sparks, Celia Weston, Adam LeFevre and Emilio Del Pozo

Summer and Smoke
Joan Marcus
McDonnell's performance as Alma Winemiller, the lonely, unmarried minister's daughter hopelessly in love with her childhood crush, stands far and above the rest of this production. We're supposed to believe that Hamlin, although handsome, is a young medical student at home for a summer visit. Truth is, he's simply too old for the part. When the two childhood friends reconnect, it's easy to see why opposites attract. The physical, pleasure-seeking John represents Alma's repressed sexual longing. Alma, in turn, embodies an emotional capacity foreign to John. Even as the two begin to identify their weaknesses, their relationship is doomed, Tennessee Williams-style. Performances by the supporting cast (especially Weston and Weeks) are solid, but McDonnell's superior performance throws the rest of the production into the shadows.