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A 'Cat' in Anthony Bean's hat

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"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

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One thing that amazes from time to time is the emergence of a strong actor from the related fields of politics or the media who treads the boards with authority and confidence. This was the case three years ago when Anthony Bean Community Theater brought convicted former City Councilman Oliver Thomas to its stage for the first of what turned out to be pretty convincing work.

In their current production of Tennessee Williams' immortal play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," it has happened again. Damon Singleton, the WDSU weatherman, has taken on the role of Brick and turned in a very respectable performance. Perhaps there is a trapped actor living beneath the surface of many TV personalities, but he doesn't necessarily have to be a good one.

Singleton's performance was not hampered by the fact that he is amazingly well-built and in an early scene exposed for all the audience to see.

But "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" is not a one-man show and despite Singleton's tour-de-force performance, there are a number of other actors who fail to buoy the show to the same level of intensity. Directed by Tommye Myrick, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" recently ended its ice storm-shortened run, hampered by poor weather that made rehearsals all but impossible for a TV weatherman on alert.

Mia Nahkid tackled the complex role of Margaret, or "Maggie the Cat" with exhuberance, but there was a feeling that she still needed a bit more sizzle, which will come with more experience. There was an emotional component of her character that seemed missing, especially in the scenes with Brick, when her unfulfilled sexual needs were being expressed.

There were times when Aubry's performance as Big Daddy were spot on that he practically demanded the rapt attention of audience members. There were very big movements in his physically imposing role, but the subtleties associated with a man who faces the mendacity of his family with naivete and, finally, disgust were missing.

Other roles by mainstay Anthony Bean performers Gail Glapion as Big Momma and Harold X. Evans as Doctor Baugh were adequate as were Jyna Nischel Tilton and Dominque McClellan as Mae and Gooper. It would have been nice to see more layers to their characters.

This was the second of what will eventually be three separate productions of the same Tennessee Williams play to be seen in the Greater New Orleans area within six weeks of each other. While this production did have several redeeming values and played to packed houses, there was a general feeling that the definitive "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" to be seen this busy season might be The NOLA Project's upcoming production with Cecilye Monteyne and James Yeargain. That show will be directed by Beau Bratcher, who did an outstanding job with their world premiere of Jim Fitzmorris's "A Truckload of Ink."

Next up for Anthony Bean Community Theater is a return of Oliver Thomas in "Reflections 2" running from March 28-April 23.

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