We just observed International Women’s Day on March 8. On that day, Lillian Hellman’s exquisitely written drama, Toys in the Attic, opened at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center is located at 245 E. High Street in Pottstown. Many readers perhaps haven’t heard of this award-winner (New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play). That could be because Toys isn’t performed often (it really challenges actors). Or maybe it’s because Hellman has been described as “America’s most significant woman playwright of the twentieth century.” What if, instead, Hellman were described as one of America’s most significant playwrights, period? Would we be seeing more of her plays more often?
Critics debate whether Hellman should be considered in the same breath as Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams. Also debated is the position of Toys in the Attic in the Hellman universe. Many critics consider it her best. When it was revived by New York’s Pearl Theater in 2007, its director, Austin Pendleton, who knew Hellman, described Toys to The New York Times as his favorite among her plays, comparing it to Chekhov. “It’s the most personal, very mysterious and very charged. And it has some of the most extraordinary language I’ve ever heard onstage,” Pendleton said.
The Little Foxes, considered Hellman’s most popular play, was performed 410 times in its original Broadway run. Through 1960-1961, Toys in the Attic, originally starring Jason Robards, Maureen Stapleton, Anne Revere and Irene Worth, played 456 times. Reviews at the time reflected diversity of opinion. Two legendary reviewers:
“…not the greatest play in the world, it is head and shoulders above the level of the season, and it provides opportunities for some extraordinary acting.” Brooks Atkinson, The New York Times
“Toys in the Attic binds us to it, with a cold, serpentine grace that is born of a clear head, a level eye, and a fierce respect for the unchanging color of the precisely used word.” Walter Kerr, The New York Herald Tribune
The cast for this production includes Andrea Frassoni (Carrie), Leena Devlin (Anna), John Jerbasi (Julian), Elise D’Alleva (Lily), Deborah Snow (Albertine), Jabbar Wright (Gus), Lee Leagiton (Henry), Philip Seader (Taxi Driver and Delivery Man), Carl Durr (Delivery Man).
Performances at the Tri-PAC run Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, and Sundays 3 PM through March 25th. Ticket prices range from $13 to $21 depending on showtime and age. Tickets may be purchased at www.tripac.org, or at the door the night of the show if available. As always, there are discounts for groups of 10 or more. Check our website, or call the theater at 610-970-1199 for more information. PARENTAL GUIDANCE IS SUGGESTED FOR THIS SHOW.
There is plenty of excitement ahead, with “Farragut North”, performances by the Melange Contemporary Dance Company and the Senior Follies, all leading up to our June musical “Hairspray”. There’s something for everyone at the Tri-County Performing Arts Center!
Village Productions is a dynamic performing arts organization founded in 2001 by a dedicated team of performing artists, arts educators, and area residents who dreamed of creating new and highly accessible performing arts opportunities for the community. Village Productions seeks to strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and educational opportunities geared toward a diverse audience. You may contact Village Productions through their website at www.tripac.org, or by telephone at 610-970-1199.