Okay, maybe it's not been 700, but we have worked together on a great many. Next is a staged reading of my play The Jamb for TOSOS on November 19, and Nicole Pandolfo's Love In The Time Of Chlamydia at the Frigid Festival in February 2012. -JSB
2. It’s Tennessee’s 100th birthday and everyone in the Western World is claiming to have uncovered an obscure Williams play like no other. Now The Cats seems like the real thing. How did you find it? What do you know about past productions?
David Kaplan, the curator of the Provincetown Festival, pointed me towards it once he had gotten to know me. It blew my mind, not something that happens very often. The world premiere was at Hartford Stage in 2003 (this is the New York premiere) as part of a series called 8 by Tenn. I don't know much about that production, so the great majority of what you see on stage comes out the crazy heads of myself and my collaborators on this production.
3. What play have you always wanted to direct, and who would be in it? The Lion in Winter by James Goldman. Christine Ebersole would be an amazing Eleanor of Aquitane, and there are lots of great actors who could play Henry II, Alan Rickman being one I particularly like.
4. A big-budget Broadway musical based on the story of your life is in production. Sadly, the producers of WarMan! do not see you as enough of a draw to play the titular role. Which Hollywood A-lister gets the job? I was once mistaken for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Orson Welles would be perfect, but... For singing voice I'd probably go for Jake Shears.
5. What’s your favorite charitable cause or philanthropic organization? Why should everyone reading this rally round their flag? The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is a leading international organization dedicated to human rights advocacy on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. In spite of inequities gay and transgendered people experience here, gay people in other parts of the world suffer far worse. IGLHRC does a wonderful job of working for our human rights all over the world.
6. What theatrical experience has really rocked your world? I saw Leonard Bernstein's Mass at a very young age, but I still find it to be one of the most breathtakingly sweeping theatre pieces ever made. I long for the day when I can direct a really huge production of this really huge work.
7. We all know Williams’ work as classic mid-century American drama. You’re presenting his play at LaMaMa Experimental Theatre Club. Tell me how Tom would react to the notion of his now being ‘avant-garde.’ Tom was always avant-garde in his heart of hearts, he only ever flirted with naturalism to speak to the broad, mainstream audience he wanted to reach. The Glass Menagerie tells an emotionally real story, but in an symbolic and expressionistic way. In the middle of writing the more naturalistic plays for which he was best known, he wrote Camino Real, probably the most ambitiously experimental play by a major author ever to play on Broadway. And from the early 1960s onward he committed himself to experimental work and only rarely looked back. He would love that we now realize he was always avant-garde.
Now The Cats With Jeweled Claws runs through Novermber 13th, 2011, at LaMaMa ETC. Chick here for tix and info.