Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer prize-winning "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" opened Friday, March 21, at Orlando's Mad Cow Theatre 54 W. Church St., Orlando FL. I went to a dress rehearsal on March 18th. In the classic story, secrets push a family to the brink during a memorable evening. Wealthy Southerner Big Daddy is celebrating his 65th birthday among his passionate and greedy family. Son Brick (David Jachin Kelley) is a hunky former football hero married to sexually frustrated Maggie (Summer Dawn Wallace). Meanwhile, son Gooper, a lawyer, had his eye on the family fortune. Also featured are Ron Schneider, Karel K. Wright, Amanda Leakey, Stephen E. Middleton, Tommy Keesling and Michael G. Knight. Bobbie Bell directed.
Brick got drunk and tried to relive his former football glory days at the high school stadium where he managed to break his leg. His wife Maggie was all a flutter talking about family and those "no neck brats" of the sister in law. Summer Dawn Wallace was exceptional in the role as Maggie. She gave the character some teeth like a wild animal cornered in a conflict. Her affections toward Brick were always rebuffed. He spent the show sipping drinks until he felt "that click" which is the moment when he finally had enough.
The show absolutely had me mesmerized. Big Daddy had health troubles and the family felt the need to protect him from the truth. Family buzzed around him trying to ingratiate their way into the family fortune. Brick was the favored son but Big Daddy could see his addiction to the bottle. There has been much talk lately about the Mad Cow Theater having financial troubles. However this show proves that the theater is committed to staging exceptional productions.