In April 1946, exactly a year after it had opened to phenomenal success at the Playhouse Theatre in New York, I attended a performance of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams with Laurette Taylor in the role of Amanda Wingfield. Ashton Stevens, reviewing the play for the Herald-American when it first opened in Chicago in December 1944, called it “a lovely thing and an original thing. It has the courage of true poetry couched in colloquial prose. It is eerie and earthy in the same breath.” He added that in fifty years of first-nighting he had encountered few jolts so “miraculously electrical” as Taylor’s portrayal and that he had not been so moved “since Eleanora Duse gave her last performance on this planet.” My reaction was equally intense: I sat absolutely transfixed as Laurette Taylor, with every syllable of her insistent, purring Southern speech, every seemingly off-hand but carefully...

 

A Message from the Editors

Receive ten print and digital issues, plus gain unlimited access to The New Criterion archive.

Popular Right Now