A Streetcar Named Desire
This daring new production strips away decades of Southern gothic gauze to reveal striking themes of class, race, and gender—reinvigorating the classic which shocked audiences in its debut. By placing the iconic 1940s-era Blanche within an entirely contemporary and multicultural environment, this 21st century production highlights the timeless relevance of this play for our divided America.
“Michael Michetti’s revitalizing production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center shakes out the cobwebs of an American classic that hasn’t felt this fresh in a long time. Before the play even begins it’s clear that this is not the New Orleans of yore but an updated version that’s more diverse and technologically with it. A DJ (the rousing sound designer Sam Sewell) parked at a table with computer equipment is playing sideman to a radical hip-hop torch singer (Paul Outlaw) who doesn’t so much warm up the room as fill it with steam heat.”
- Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times full review
“Watching [A Streetcar Named Desire], you’re aware of the gap between the prescribed gender roles of mid–20th century men and women and the relative fluidity of these roles today. But neither this disparity nor any other mars the punch and power of director Michael Michetti’s dynamic revival at Boston Court. The commentary extends beyond the individual human condition to the realms of race, power and privilege.”
- Deborah Klugman, LA Weekly
“What’s immediately striking about this production is the pre-show entertainment consisting of a live DJ, sound designer Sam Sewell, and male vocalist, Paul Outlaw, who engage audiences with traditional jazz-based songs in an electronic R&B style. This aptly sets the tone and time period for the play before it even begins. Even more fascinating about this is that Sewell remains on stage for the duration of the performance running sound up-close and personal. Sewell’s sound design is the lifeblood of this production. From sound effects, hip-hop grooves, to soundscapes with spoken lines from the drama, her choices support everything that is happening internally and externally. Outlaw too returns appearing as the ‘Negro Woman’ character, who in this production is expressed as a gender non-conforming singer. These appearances seem to seem to represent the spirit of New Orleans with songs that often echo the emotional energy of the prior scene—he’s a sublime talent with a smoky voice that wafts through the air like a fine cigar.”
- Ryan Luévano, Tin Pan L.A.