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Q: Review of Summer and Smoke by Tennesse Williams ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Review of Summer and Smoke by Tennesse Williams
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Performing Arts
Asked by: zero_gee-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 06 Nov 2002 13:17 PST
Expires: 06 Dec 2002 13:17 PST
Question ID: 100619
I am looking for reviews of theatre performances of "summer and smoke"
by Tennesse Williams.  I will pay $5 for 3 reviews.  I will ONLY pay
$10 if all reviews performances reviewed are in New York.  Many

Request for Question Clarification by luciaphile-ga on 07 Nov 2002 10:18 PST
Are you interested in reviews from the original production or from revivals?

Clarification of Question by zero_gee-ga on 07 Nov 2002 10:51 PST
Let's say:

How about we say, one review of the original production (whereever it
was staged), then 2 reviews of revivals that must have been staged in
New York.

If the original production was in New York, and you have several
substantial reviews of it, then that would be OK too.


Subject: Re: Review of Summer and Smoke by Tennesse Williams
Answered By: luciaphile-ga on 09 Nov 2002 13:19 PST
Hi zero_gee-ga,

Thanks for your question. You asked for three reviews. Below you will
find four, two from the original Broadway production and two from a
revival. Both were staged in New York. Because of copyright law, I
cannot reproduce the reviews verbatim. What I can do is provide you
with the citations, paraphrase and give you one or two quotes from
each review.
According to the Internet Broadway Database, the original production
of Tennessee Williams' play, "Summer and Smoke," was staged at the
Music Box Theatre in New York and enjoyed a run from 10/6/1948 to

Internet Broadway Database: Summer and Smoke

There were several reviews of the production. 

"'Summer and Smoke'," by Howard Barnes. New York Herald Tribune
(October 7, 1948).

Barnes was less than impressed with the play, saying that "the
production at the Music Box finds Tennessee Williams as fumbling and
obvious as he is trenchant and evocative in 'A Streetcar Named
Desire.'" The set design and some of the performances were received
more favorably (Jo Mielziner, scenic designer and Tod Andrews, who
played John Buchanan, Jr., came off the best).

"At the Theatre," by Brooks Atkinson. The New York Times (October 7,

Atkinson, in contrast, wrote a largely favorable review. He wrote,
"'Summer and Smoke' is no literary exercise but a theatre piece
charged with passion and anguish." He praised the director, Margo
Jones, Jo Mielziner, as well as most of the cast.

Both of these reviews I found in a print source:

"New York Theatre Critics' Reviews: 1948," edited by Rachel W.
Collins. Critics' Theatre Reviews (1948), pp. 205-209.

A revival production was performed by the Roundabout Theatre Company
at the Criterion Center Stage Right Theatre running from September 5,
1996 to October 20, 1996, for a total of 53 performances. The cast
included Harry Hamlin, Mary McDonnell, Ken Jenkins and Roberta

Internet Broadway Database: Summer and Smoke

"Theater Review: the Hope of Connection in Williams' World," by Ben
Brantley. The New York Times (September 6, 1996), p. 5

The review for this was not particularly positive. Brantley called it
a "shrill, oddly boisterous interpretation of a work." The music score
by John Gromada and the actress who played young Alma, Nathalie
Paulding were received favorably. The direction, set design and the
performances of Hamlin and McDonnell were not so highly praised.

The article is available online at the New York Times, but there will
be a fee  of $2.95 associated with retrieving it. To search for this
item, I entered "summer and smoke" (with the quotes) appearing in full
article and limited the date range from September 1, 1996 to November
1, 1996.

New York Times Archive search

"Summer and Smoke," by John Simon. New York (September 16, 1996), pp.

Simon places the blame in part on the play itself saying that it
possesses "thematic repetitiveness and the crippling effort to outbid
the controlled hysteria of his masterpieces" (Glass Menagerie and
Streetcar). The direction of the play, however, he calls "hamfisted,"
which Simon feels results in overacted performances from Mary
McDonnell and Haylay Sparks.  Like the NY Times review, the set design
is also criticized.

This review and several others is collected in:
"National Theatre Critics' Review: 1996. vol LVII, #14, pp. 364-369.

Search strategy:
I went to the IBDB ( first to get the dates of the
original and any revival production.

The "New York Theatre Critics' Reviews" I have used before.

"Readers Periodical Index: 1996," edited by Jean M. Marra. H.W.
Wilson, Inc.

If you require additional information, please ask for clarification
and I'll be happy to assist you in any way that I can.

There are no comments at this time.

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