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Fall Arts Guide 2008, Best Bets: The Glass Menagerie

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Best Bets

The Glass Menagerie

Since its world premiere in Chicago, the day after Christmas in 1944, The Glass Menagerie has been a gift that keeps on giving. Dozens of local troupes have put their stamp on Tennessee Williams's moving, semiautobiographical portrait of a Depression-era Saint Louis family, and two more will try this fall. Shattered Globe Theatre, which last season delivered a potent revival of Williams's Suddenly Last Summer, will reunite that show's leading ladies, Linda Reiter and Allison Batty, with its director, Kevin Hagan, for a production that aims to emphasize Menagerie's famed fusion of verbal and visual poetry. Reiter portrays faded southern belle Amanda Wingfield; Batty plays her daughter Laura, the lame, shy young woman based on Williams's schizophrenic sister. Later this season Yasen Peyankov's staging for Steppenwolf Theatre's Young Adults series will feature an all-African-American cast. Peyankov says he's struck by the enduring relevance of Williams's drama about a single mother and her two grown children, struggling with economic difficulties while trying to pursue their dreams—and he's pleased that the production will be aimed at both adolescent and adult audiences, because this painfully honest masterwork is a perfect family piece. aShattered Globe's Glass Menagerie runs through 11/2: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Greenhouse Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000, $30-$35. The Steppenwolf for Young Adults production runs 10/21-11/9, with weekday shows for school groups; performances are open to the public 10/25-11/9, Sat-Sun 11 AM (no show Sat 10/26), Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted, 312-335-1650, $20. —Albert Williams

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