Original Article: https://www.theatreworldim2.com/catonahottinroof-dlt
Most people recognize Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof from the 1958 film adaptation starring a beautiful, young Elizabeth Taylor and drop-dead handsome Paul Newman. Without question, that was an exciting, sexy telling of Williams’ story of the moral decay of a wealthy southern family. Tony nominee Marcia Milgrom Dodge known for the 2009 revival of Ragtime and Drury Lane’s production of Smokey Joe’s Café returns to the Drury Lane for a revealing and insightful evening in the crumbling home of the Politt family. Many people find this production disturbing with self-absorbed, non-redeemable characters. This modern production, brings to light, in Technicolor, the toll same sex relationships have on a family that simply denies everything.
The problem with the Politt family is Brick (Anthony Bowden). Brick was once a football hero. He had the love and admiration of the entire town and a beautiful trophy wife, Maggie (Genevieve Angelson). She’s also referred to as “Maggie the Cat” and fights tooth and nail to get whatever she wants. Brick is recovering from a hurtle-jumping injury he sustained while intoxicated, trying to relive his glory days. Maggie has no idea how much pain he’s in. The physical pain is only part of it. He’s lost his best friend, Skipper, who committed suicide after trying to sleep with Maggie. People are beginning to realize that Skipper was more than just a buddy to Brick. Since his death, Brick does nothing but drink and reminisce about the good old days. No one can get him to stop. He drinks until he gets a “click” and is at peace with himself.
Though Brick is the focus, it’s Maggie that does all the work. She trying to get him ready for the big party being thrown for Big Daddy’s birthday. It’s important that he attend because Big Daddy has a very short life span, due to an aggressive metastatic cancer. She wants him to sign over his estate to her and Brick instead of his brother, Gooper (Michael Milligan) and his ever pregnant wife, Mae (Gail Rastorfer). Gooper has done everything right. He has a career, and a huge family. Brick and Maggie are childless and Brick has no interest in his beautiful, angry, frustrated wife anymore. But Brick is Big Daddy’s favorite. Matt DeCaro is Big Daddy, a man who hates everything and everyone including Big Mama (Cindy Gold) and only loves Brick. But Brick couldn’t care less about the estate or Maggie or Big Daddy. He just wants to drink himself to death.
As the evening wears on, Brick isolates, Big Daddy tries to get Mae and her “no neck” kids to leave him alone. He says horrible things to delusional Big Mama, who makes all kinds of excuses for him. Maggie tries to be polite to Mae who is pregnant with her sixth child and listens at the wall at night to the nothing going on in Brick and Maggie's room. A vicious competition between the two women ensues but Big Daddy only wants Brick, his favorite son, his confidant and partner in crime to spend time with him. Unfortunately, he’s so needy that he fails to see that Brick has split off from the normal routines of daily life and depreciated into a miserable alcoholic. He’s surrounded by people who need him but he wants no part of them. No football, no Skipper, he believes that his life is over and nothing will ever matter again.
Director Marcia Milgrom Dodge takes the Hollywood glamour out of this tragic tale and really showcases the turmoil festering in Brick’s psyche. Anthony Bowden is like an exposed nerve as the pitiful and sullen has-been, trying to numb himself so that he doesn’t have to deal with the multitude of people he’s disappointed. He just can’t get it together, and really doesn’t want to. Nevertheless, Maggie, Big Daddy and Big Mama still need him to answer the attendance call and refuse to stop trying, especially with the family fortune at stake.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is well directed and stars an excellent cast which also includes strong support work from Craig Spidle as Doctor Baugh, the bearer of the fatal diagnosis, Joe Bianco as the trusted Reverend Tooker and Donica Lynn and Reginald Robinson, Jr. are Sookey and Lacey, respectively, the loyal housekeeping staff.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof runs through August 26 at the magnificent Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. Single tickets range from $43 to $58. Phone 630-530-0111 or Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Tickets can be purchased on line at DruryLaneTheatre.com.
Wednesdays: 1:30 p.m.
Thursdays: 1:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Fridays: 8:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 5:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Sundays: 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
$43 - $58 Wednesday and Thursday matinees:
$43 Thursday and Sunday evenings:
$53 Friday and Saturday evenings
$58 Sunday matinees
Student group tickets start at $30.
Senior Citizens start at $38 for matinees.
Dinner and show packages available.