Bailey Boudreau not only starred in the award-winning “A Night of Stars with Tennessee Williams,” but the Slipstream Theatre Initiative artistic director knew that Maxim Vinogradov’s play was something special from the first read through.
“When this play was chosen as the Regional winner for the KCATCF competition, we had the opportunity to do a staged reading with our whole cast in Indianapolis,” Boudreau says. “When doing that reading, all of us felt that we weren’t done telling this story. And so the discussion of a remount started.”
That discussion landed the play in Ann Arbor’s Theatre Nova, a stage known for showcasing local talent and new plays.
“One of Slipstream’s core tenets is bringing the theatre community together by partnering, sharing space, and more,” Boudreau continues. “Because this is one of few plays we could take to a city like Ann Arbor, we thought it best to partner with a theatre that focuses on new works. So the talks with the board of Theatre Nova began.”
“A Night of Stars with Tennessee Williams,” will hit the Ann Arbor stage from Aug. 4 through Aug. 26.
The partnership with Theatre Nova is a first for Slipstream Theatre Initiative.
“We will always look for new opportunities to partner with theatre companies here,” Boudreau says. “We share our building with the UnTheatre Project and with Puzzle Piece Theatre, as well as work to cross brand with other companies, our mutual actors, themes, shows, etc. We have a thriving community of theatre in Michigan and one of our goals is to help keep that community connected.”
The play is a tour of famous and infamous stars, led by a man admired by more stars than any other: the one and only Tennessee Williams. Appearances on the tour include Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Bette Davis, Truman Capote, Katharine Hepburn, and many more along the way. As in all good tours, the history becomes almost more realistic than the present as the ghosts from the past materialize as flesh and blood.
Vinogradov’s script recently won the Hopwood Award in Drama as well as the Dennis McIntyre Prize. It also garnered five Wilde Award Nominations, including Best Original Play, Best Play, and Best Script.
“This play is otherworldly,” Boudreau says. “Here is a 19-year-old kid who didn’t even know who Tennessee Williams was when he was commissioned to write this play. And because his intellect is so sharp, his instincts and vision so different from most, he was able to tell a story about human beings.
“For those of us in the first production, we all knew it was something special. We wanted to live this story. We wanted an audience to laugh, and enjoy themselves, become a little more familiar with Williams’ works, and think about celebrity in a different way.”
Returning from the original cast are Boudreau as the iconic Tennessee Williams; audience and critic favorite, Jan Cartwright; last year’s Rising Star Wilde Award winner Jackson Abohasira; Slipstream “heartthrob” Steve Xander Carson; and this year’s Rising Star Wilde Award nominee Grace Jolliffe.
New to the cast are Slipstream regulars Richard Payton, Jake Rydell, and company co-founder Luna Alexander. Rounding out the cast are Slipstream new additions Jeannine Thompson, and Sarah B. Stevens.
The production is directed by Mandy Logsdon, with assistant direction by Erin Suchara. Technical design and execution are by Ryan Ernst, and Bailey Boudreau serves as costume designer.
What: A Night of Stars with Tennessee Williams by Maxim Vinogradov
When: Aug. 4-26 (Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m.
Where: Theatre Nova, 410 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor