By BILL KNIGHT
When Corn Stock Theatre launches its Winter Season Oct. 27 with “The Glass Menagerie,” it will be 73 years since the premiere in Chicago of Tennessee Williams’ first successful play.
Directed in Peoria by Amy Glass, the production’s small cast stars Helen Engelbrecht as Amanda, Ben Maxwell as Tom, Liz Scoville as Laura and Creighton Burrell as Jim in the “memory play” based on Williams’ life.
Tom is the protagonist who narrates, Amanda the middle-aged former Southern belle, Laura her rather brittle daughter coping with the effects of polio, and Jim a former schoolmate “gentleman caller” Amanda helps arrange as a suitor for Laura.
Part of the American canon of modern theatre, the tender drama has had its greatest triumph on stage. Largely disappointing adaptations have ranged from films in 1950 and 1987, four radio versions in 1951, 1953, 1954 and 1964, and TV productions in 1966 and last year.
Those and national troupes have featured star-studded casts. Acting “royalty” who’ve acted in “The Glass Menagerie” have included Shirley Booth and Montgomery Clift.
Corn Stock’s production runs Oct. 27-28 and Nov. 2-5, with 7:30 p.m. show times Thursday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 5.