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Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll

Written by Stage Adaptation ­by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann, based on Tennessee Williams' screenplay
Directed by Simon Levy
Produced by Deborah Lawlor & Stephen Sachs
Starring Daniel Bess, Karen Kondazian, Lindsay LaVanchy, Steve Hofvendahl, George Roland

BABY DOLL postcard front FINAL copySMALL

A DOZEN RAVE REVIEWS! – Extended thru Oct 30

BroadwayWorld.com – “SIZZLING!DON’T MISS THIS BABY DOLL!I cannot think of a better way to spend a hot summer night than to watch a sizzling stage production of a Tennessee Williams film… a practically flawless production at the Fountain Theatre, directed with stunning clarity by Simon Levy…and boasting an unforgettably ingenious cast of five… It is indeed Williams’ greatest achievement to turn sensuality into a spiritual and poetic powerhouse… Under Simon Levy’s perfectly modulated direction, the ensemble is divine. LaVanchy is pretty, innocent yet brazen as Baby Doll. This is a most difficult role and Lavanchy gives it her all in a luminous performance. Bess is handsome and sensually alluring as Vacarro. We sit on the edge of our seats, just waiting for him to win Baby over. Bess also brings compassion as well as power to the role, making him a knight in shining armor. Prosky makes the perfect uneducated, ill-mannered animal that is Archie. He brings Archie’s pain to the surface, and his dramatic outbursts are nothing short of beastial. Karen Kondazian as Aunt Rose is wondrous. It is delicious delight to watch her create a full inner life with a character that has less dialogue. Her reactions really tell the story. Another illuminating performance! George Roland ably completes the cast as the sheriff, who brings some peace to the last scene of the play. Kudos as well to the splendid creative team!… This authorized adaptation by Pierre Laville and Emily Mann stays faithful to the movie, eliminating only a few minor characters. Branded as a dark comedy as well as a drama, there is much humor as in all Williams plays. And the poetry! Who else but Tennessee Williams could express malevolence as “an explosion of evil spirits that haunt the human heart”? And once again the Fountain Theatre shows its brilliance. It is no small wonder that it has always been and still is considered the premier Equity Waiver theatre of LA.” – Don Grigware

Los Angeles Times – “EROTIC!… This production [ ] has a secret weapon in Lindsay LaVanchy, who draws out all the sensuality and sadness, the petulance and helplessness of Baby Doll … LaVanchy allows us to once again hope that maybe this time romance will live up to its promise… Casts a poetic spell… Tennessee Williams is the greatest playwright America has ever produced.” – Charles McNulty

StageSceneLA – “WOW!MAJOR SUMMER ENTERTAINMENT!… A just-right darkly comedic tone and pitch-perfect performances… director Simon Levy and his stellar cast… With a half-dozen or so of his plays in seemingly perpetual rotating rep, it’s easy to forget that Tennessee Williams penned well over two dozen major stage works (not counting movie scripts both original and adapted) in his lifetime. Baby Doll may never join its more illustrious companions as a revival favorite, but at the Fountain, it is as Baby Doll-icous as “ninety minutes, no intermission” can get.” – Steven Stanley

Paul Myrvold’s Theatre Notes – “If you love Tennessee Williams, DON’T MISS THIS PRODUCTION! Who knows when it will come around again?… stars the excellent Lindsay LaVanchy in the title role… played with aching intensity and pent up frustration by John Prosky… Daniel Bess, a handsome, muscular Adonis… the delightfully dotty Karen Kondazian… Smartly directed by Simon Levy… This is classic, fascinating Williams.” – Paul Myrvold

EdgeMediaNetwork – “A PHENOMENAL SHOW that will leave your every sensation aching for more… LaVanchy brings us a stunning portrayal of Baby Doll… [ ] Her chemistry with Bess is electrifying from the start. The two are a delight to watch both in moments of tenderness and during passionate outbursts. They make the stage their own and leave the audience fanning themselves and longing for a cold drink as their seduction reaches its peak… The Fountain Theatre’s “Baby Doll,” is many, many things — it’s salacious, but spectacular; provocative, but profound; revolting, but riveting. Overall, it is a brilliant show that will seduce you with its story and charm you with its characters. And above all, it is well worth a view and the perfect show to add some sexy sizzle into your summer.” – Michelle Sandoval

On Stage Los Angeles – “A MUST SEE!… The romance of Williams’ words in and of themselves is seductive… moves quickly and assuredly thanks to Levy’s decisive hand.” – Michael Sheehan

Discover Hollywood – “FIRST RATEFOCUSES THE HEAT LIKE A MAGNIFYING GLASS IN SUNLIGHT… When Tennessee Williams writes, the words spill naturally, sometimes with smoke, sometimes with fire… Simon Levy’s direction uses the intimate Fountain stage to great effect… Lindsay Lavanchy in a riveting performance as Baby Doll. She is a child, a schemer, and an awakening sexual being all in one… The middle-aged man, Archie Lee, portrayed by John Prosky, is ornery and comically pathetic… The talented Karen Kondazian, as worn-out Aunt Rose, adds comic relief… Daniel Bess plays Vacarro with a cruel streak hidden under matinee-idol bravado… This Baby’s pedigree shows… The Fountain is one of L.A.’s most successful 99-seat houses, winning local and national awards.” – Bill Garry

TotalTheater.com – “FOUR STARS!The Fountain’s lavish, excellent production does Williams proud… The film’s history has a lurid side to it. Its poster image of Baby Doll (the semi-naked Carroll Baker) lying in a crib sucking her thumb was denounced as “salacious” and “morally repellent” by Cardinal Francis Spellman, the Archbishop of New York, who (before the film was even released) declared that Catholics would be committing a sin if they saw it…  This is only the second time the Williams estate has given permission for the adaptation to be staged, making it something of a coup for the Fountain.” – Will Manus

NightTintedGlasses.com – “VIVIDLY REAL AND DETAILED!… Although a relatively minor work compared to masterpieces like The Glass Menagerie or Summer and Smoke, this adaptation of Tennessee Williams nicely demonstrates his status as one of America’s great playwrights. Yet even great plays need good performers and designers, which this production enjoys.” – Zahir Blue

TheatreMania – “EXCITING TO WATCH!… With the seduction at its center, the tone of Levy’s production waves between dark humor, heat, and menace… In Bess’ hands, Sylva is all smoothness and cunning. In 1952 Mississippi, Italians were only slightly less marginalized than the African-Americans who work in Archie Leigh’s factory, and Bess’ seductiveness is laced with a cold streak. Prosky’s Archie Lee is as cruel as he is physically grimy, but even he can work a giggle or two out of a tender moment with his Baby Doll — before he resorts to threats and violence, that is. The arresting LaVanchy anchors this production, and not just because of her character’s four-alarm sexuality. The actress lets us witness the desperate danger of Baby Doll’s plight and the transformation from girl to woman that is taking place at the worst possible time. The character has had it rough, and it’s clear we are watching the last hours of her innocence. LaVanchy locates the fear and the deep sadness of Baby Doll… sizzling!” – Evan Henerson

ArtsInLA.com – “STELLAR CAST!Ol’ Tenn would be thrilled to see his BABY DOLL return to her rickety crib and be brought to such glorious life once again… With the boost from Laville and Mann’s crafty, respectful adaptation, venerated Williams interpreter Levy has done wonders… Truly noteworthy.” – Travis Michael Holder

ReviewPlays.com – “DON’T MISS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THIS TENNESSEE WILLIAMS PREMIERE!…  sensuous comedy/drama… Simon Levy directs a cast of outstanding actors.” – Carol Kaufman Segal

West Coast Premiere of a new stage adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ BABY DOLL

PERFORMANCES: Fri 8pm; Sat 8pm; Sun 2pm; Mon 8pm
90 Minutes/No Intermission

Imagine being one of the first to see a new play by Tennessee Williams. Now is your chance.

Our long-term successful relationship with the Tennessee Williams Estate continues with our highly anticipated West Coast premiere of Baby Doll in July. You may remember the provocative 1956 movie written by Williams, directed by Elia Kazan, and starring Carroll Baker, Karl Malden and Eli Wallach. Sixty years later, Pierre LaVille and Emily Mann adapted Williams’ screenplay into the first-ever authorized version for the stage at the Tony Award winning McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ. The production drew rave reviews and national attention. The Fountain Theatre is honored to be producing the second production, in our exclusive West Coast Premiere.

The Story: Mississippi Delta, early 1950s, where the accents are thick, the summers are hot, but the livin’ isn’t so easy. Archie Lee has been married to a seductive young woman/child, called only by the endearment of Baby Doll, for some time, but by agreement with the girl’s now-dead father, the marriage can only be consummated on her 20th birthday, now just days away. The manager of a successful plantation nearby, handsome Silva Vacarro, swaggers in, suspecting that Archie Lee is the arsonist who destroyed his cotton gin the night before. Once Silva sets his eyes on Baby Doll, things get steamy and complicated.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of this daring and sensuous West Coast Premiere.

It’s going to be a very hot summer.

 

Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll

PRESS

@ThisStageMagazine – Trio of Lesser Known Williams Shows

Los Angeles Times – Tennessee Williams: What Three Lesser Known Works Say About the Playwright’s Legacy