One of the more powerful and classic American dramas ever written will be performed in Bakersfield tonight and a local jazz singer plays a key role in both the performance and production. The western United States tour of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire premiers in Bakersfield at The Gardens at Mill Creek.
The disturbing and violent drama touches upon compelling issues still relevant to today, as it examines the intertwined relationships between Stanley Kowalski, his wife Stella, and her sister, Blanche DuBois, who arrives for a visit hiding dark secrets.
The production features Kenric Green as Stanley, Melita Sagar as Blanche, and Bakersfield's Kama Maccioli as Stella. Mrs. Maccioli may be more familiar to many local residents as a jazz vocalist popular for her sultry performances of jazz standards and unique, jazzy interpretations of classic rock and pop tunes. (Disclaimer - yes, Mrs. Maccioli is also this author's wonderful wife!)
The theater group producing the play, which includes Mrs. Maccioli, is also partnering with women's shelters and organizations in each community they visit. They hope to use the play as a powerful tool to promote dialog and action related to violence against women, mental health, and victims of physical and sexual abuse. A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to those organizations.
Additionally, the group will be offering public workshops taught by members of the ensemble to each community they visit. The workshops consist of acting and movement classes that, according to the organizers, "provide a safe and nurturing, joyful space that fosters self-esteem and encourages authentic self-expression - the freedom to celebrate the truth!"
Streetcar also features Jeremy Minagro, Adon Chau, and Michelle Petro, the latter two in dual roles. The play will be directed by Dana Martin. Ms. Martin recently adapted for the stage and directed Stages - A Unique and Unusual Cabaret, which has been touring California, including Bakersfield, for the last year.
As a side note and a bit of trivia, Mr. Green is part of a marital acting couple. His wife, Sonequa Martin-Green, portrays Sasha on AMC's hit drama, The Walking Dead.
Also, as part of the production's efforts to actively involve the local community, each performance will include a local resident to fill a key role in the play. Tonight, Bakersfield's own "non-celebrity," Frank the Nobody, makes his debut before a live audience in a key scene.
Immediately after tonight's appearance, the group will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada, followed by stops in Cedar City, Utah, Las Vegas again, then on to Sacramento and Turlock (CSU Stanislaus).
Tickets are $15 at the door, or, advance tickets may be purchased ($15 + fee) at: Streetcar tickets