“A Streetcar Named Desire,” among the most omnipresent plays in pop culture, turns 70 this year. Pivotal performances and hommages have placed — and kept — the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tennessee Williams drama on the map.
‘Streetcar’ premieres on Broadway
After a brief run at the Shubert in New Haven, the play opens Dec. 3 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on Broadway. The production is directed by Elia Kazan and stars Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy. Both actors are little known at the time. Tandy goes on to win a Tony Award for best actress in a play. The show closes in 1949, after 855 performances, and launches a national tour starring Uta Hagen as Blanche and Anthony Quinn as Stanley.
‘Streetcar’ in London
Laurence Olivier directs the original London production, which stars Vivien Leigh, Bonar Colleano and Renee Asherson.
On the big screen
Marlon Brando forever cements the phrase, “Hey Stella,” in the popular consciousness with his powerful performance in the first film adaptation of the play, directed by Kazan and also starring Leigh as Blanche. The film wins four Oscars including Leigh for lead actress, Karl Malden for supporting actor as Mitch and Kim Hunter for supporting actress as Stella. Brando is nominated for lead actor but loses to Humphrey Bogart in “The African Queen.”
A ballet named ‘Streetcar’
The play is staged as a ballet for the first time in a production choreographed by Valerie Bettis. Slavenska-Franklin Ballet premieres the work at Her Majesty's Theatre in Montreal.
First Broadway revival
This time it’s Rosemary Harris as Blanche, James Farentino as Stanley and Patricia Connolly as Stella. Lincoln Center produces the play at the Vivian Beaumont Theater.
Maiden voyage to the small screen
The first full made-for-TV production of “Streetcar” stars Ann-Margret as Blanche, Treat Williams as Stanley, Beverly D'Angelo as Stella and Randy Quaid as Mitch. Ann-Margret, D'Angelo and Quaid are nominated for Emmys but don’t win. Ann-Margret does, however, win a Golden Globe.
Comeback at the Tonys
After a 40-year absence at the Tonys, a revival of "Streetcar" earns nominations for Frances McDormand as Stella and Blythe Danner as Blanche. The show, at the Circle in the Square Theatre, also stars Aidan Quinn as Stanley.
A return to its roots
A hugely successful revival starring
The animated Fox sitcom “The Simpsons” releases an episode during its fourth season titled, “A Streetcar Named Marge,” in which Marge is cast as Blanche in a community theater production of “Streetcar.” Homer begins to act very Stanley-esque.
Natasha Richardson’s final Broadway role
Natasha Richardson stars as Blanche in another Broadway revival, but it's Amy Ryan as Stella who scores the Tony nomination.
Scottish Ballet dances down time-worn tracks
Scottish Ballet opens its version of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” directed by Nancy Meckler.
Already a subscriber? Thank you for your support. If you are not, please consider subscribing today. Get full access to our signature journalism for just 99 cents for the first four weeks.