Sally Field & Joe Mantello star in The Glass Menagerie on Broadway.
The Glass Menagerie is the play that brought a brilliant young writer named Tennessee Williams to national attention when it premiered on Broadway in 1945. More than seventy years later, Williams’ most personal work for the stage continues to captivate and overwhelm audiences around the world. Also starring Finn Wittrock and Madison Ferris.
But this is not the only Glass Menagerie any of us is likely to see in our lifetime; it’s a Glass Menagerie, one that restores what must have been the shock of the original while also reframing our ideas about Williams as an imperfect person and a pitiless autobiographer. That’s bracing; like the onstage rain that pours tumultuously during the final scene, it smells fresh and raises shivers.
Every immaculately crafted moment of Sam Gold’s staging of Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie rings as clear as it does true. There is no reason to close your eyes, but you could, and the actors’ beautiful enunciation and encapsulation of Williams’s words would be as pleasurable as the best radio play.
Surely, no star in the history of Broadway has made a more inauspicious entrance than Sally Field’s first appearance as poor Amanda Wingfield in director Sam Gold’s starkly unforgiving, mostly unafraid and surely unforgettable revival of “The Glass Menagerie,” a production that scrambles the politics and poetics of the presumed fragile Tennessee Williams’ fever dream by conceiving of a Laura whose disability is not slight, not in her own head, and not merely a symbolic manifestation of debilitating fraternal or maternal expectation.