Classics from Miles Malleson and Tennessee Williams streaming this week

If you’re an aficionado of theatrical classics and period pieces, you can connect online this week with an all-star reading of a world-renowned drama by a Pulitzer Prize-winning American icon and a three-camera HD archival recording of a previously unproduced work by a lesser-known English writer from the 1930s.

Max von Essen and Elisabeth Gray. Photo by Richard Termine.

The latest offering in Mint Theater Company’s ongoing streaming series of its past productions is Miles Malleson’s “un-romantic comedy” Yours Unfaithfully, recorded live on-stage at Theatre Row’s Beckett Theatre in 2017. Though well-known in his day for his work as a character actor, Malleson’s play about an unconventional couple’s open marriage was never produced until the Mint’s belated world premiere. A combination of genteel drawing room comedy and provocative sex farce, the insightful story, with ties to the author’s own life, gives an intimate look at the price of free love and the clash of ideals with emotions, at a time when polyamorous relationships were not so openly (but nonetheless decorously) discussed.

Mint Artistic Director Jonathan Bank sets just the right tone of refinement for the era, directing a cast that features Todd Cerveris (South Pacific), Mikaela Izquierdo (Cyrano de Bergerac), Elisabeth Gray (Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Stephen Schnetzer (The Goat), and Tony and Drama Desk Award nominee Max von Essen (An American In Paris). They are supported with period-style sets by Carolyn Mraz, costumes by Hunter Kaczorowski, props by Joshua Yocum, hair, wigs, and make-up by John Jared Janas, lighting by Xavier Pierce, and original music and sound by Jane Shaw. After you’ve watched the play, you can check out a post-show EnrichMint event featuring guest speaker Dr. Anne Fernald, Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus.

Yours Unfaithfully streams March 22-May 16, 2021, on the Mint Theater website. Viewing is free, on demand, with no password or ticket required; just go online, enter your name and email address, and start watching.

To celebrate Tennessee Williams’ 110th birthday on Friday, March 26, La Femme Theatre Productions will stream an encore benefit presentation of The Night of the Iguana. When the pre-recorded reading first aired from December 2-6, 2020, it raised nearly $17,000 for The Actors Fund, which this week’s re-broadcast will also support.

The play centers on a disgraced and defrocked minister, banned from his church for his iconoclastic statements defaming God. Now working as a tour guide, he is accused of the statutory rape of a sixteen-year-old girl in his tour group and struggles through a stormy night at a hotel in Acapulco to keep the group from descending into chaos. The original Broadway production, which made its debut in 1961, was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. It was then adapted into a critically acclaimed Oscar-nominated 1964 film starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner, followed by a popular 1976 Broadway revival.

Directed by Emily Mann, the star-studded cast of La Femme’s reading features Dylan McDermott, Phylicia Rashad, Roberta Maxwell, Austin Pendleton, Jean Lichty, and Keith Randolph Smith, with Carmen Berkeley, Eliud Kauffman, Julio Macias, Stephanie Schmiderer, Bradley James Tejeda, and John Hans Tester in supporting roles. The creative team includes Beowulf Boritt (set and background design), Darron L West (music and sound effects), Amy Stoller (dramaturgy and language consulting), with editing by Seth Walters.

The livestream event begins on Thursday, March 25, at 7 pm, on Stellar, with La Femme Executive Director Lichty “In Conversation” with Theater Hall of Famers Mann (Tony nominee; Lilly Award recipient) and Rashad (Emmy nominee; Tony winner). The reading, along with the conversation recording, will be available on demand through Sunday, March 28, 11:59 pm. You can watch a preview here:


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