PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Walnut Street Theatre, the nation’s oldest active playhouse, has given birth to a new touring company with the current production at The Walnut’s small “Independence Studio on 3.”

“The Glass Menagerie” is, as Tennessee Williams put it, his “pioneering memory play” — one that deals with a mother and her two grown children living in a shoddy tenement.  The mother is especially concerned for the future of her shy and crippled daughter who is fascinated with a cherished collection of glass animals.

The brother, with the mother’s urging, introduces the sister to his friend and fellow worker whose social activity might very well be what the sister needs.

Invited to dinner, the sister is attracted to the young man, whom she recognizes from school.  But after a friendly gathering the young man reveals he’s engaged to his girlfriend, and the encounter collapses.

Jillian Louis, the actress who plays the daughter in this production (above left), is a standout.

“The Glass Menagerie” is a fragile and impressive work that put Tennessee Williams on the map.  And it’s a new challenge, you might say, for the Walnut Street Theatre‘s new road company.

Reviewed by Bob Nelson, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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