Top Actors Equity Association Honors For "A Streetcar Named Desire"
â€œWe are tremendously honored and delighted that our work to broaden the spectrum of roles for people of color and thus draw new audiences to Broadway has been noticed and acknowledged,â€ said Byrd
The Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire was awarded the Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award for the 2011-2012 Season from Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) on Tuesday.
The show, produced by Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey through Front Row Productions, received the honor at a presentation at Equity headquarters. Christine Toy Johnson and Julia Breanetta Simpson, AEA Co-chairs Eastern Regional Equal Employment Opportunity Committee, presented the award, which turns the spotlight onto those doing exemplary work to promote the goals of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity in theatre.
Byrd and Jones-Harvey were joined by Streetcar star Nicole Ari Parker and cast members Amelia Campbell, Carmen De Lavallade, Jacinto Taras Riddick and Count Stovall. Current Assistant Stage Manager Hilary Austin and former cast member Matthew Saldivar also attended. “We are tremendously honored and delighted that our work to broaden the spectrum of roles for people of color and thus draw new audiences to Broadway has been noticed and acknowledged,” said Byrd, whose production of the classic Tennessee Williams play has a multiracial cast featuring Black and Latino lead actors. “As this is our core mission, the award is even more special to us.” Directed by Emily Mann, Streetcar is set against the sexy backdrop of New Orleans' gritty French Quarter. The play tells the tale of former school teacher and socialite Blanche DuBois, played by Nicole Ari Parker, as she's forced to move in with her sister Stella, played by Daphne Rubin-Vega, and her "animalistic" husband Stanley, played by Blair Underwood. But the fragile, Blanche quickly gets a gritty life lesson in the seamy, steamy underbelly of 1950s New Orleans.
The show boasts a multiracial cast including Wood Harris, Rosa Arredondo, Amelia Campbell, Carmen DeLavallade, Danielle Lee Greaves, J. Mallory-McCree, Aaron Clifton Moten, Morocco Omari, Jacino Taras Riddick, Teddy Cañez, and Count Stovall. Set design by is Eugene Lee; lighting design is by Edward Pierce; costumes are by Paul Tazewell; sound design is by Mark Bennett; and choreography is by Camille Brown. Terence Blanchard composed original music for the play. The production is presented by Byrd, Jones-Harvey, Anthony Lacavera, BET Networks, Henry G. Jarecki, Simon Says Entertainment and Dancap Productions.
Front Row Productions also presented the 2008 acclaimed Debbie Allen-directed Broadway production Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Terrence Howard, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose and James Earl Jones. Byrd and Jones-Harvey successfully transferred Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to London’s West End (2009-2010) starring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad with Adrian Lester and Sanaa Lathan. The West End Revival garnered the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play.
Streetcar closes on Sunday, July 22 and plans are to take the production to London’s West End. For more information, visit www.streetcaronbroadway.com