Tennessee and Anna: Play Chronicles Friendship of Tennessee Williams and Actress Anna Magnani
Currently at Odyssey Theatre
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Tennessee and Anna
by Franco D’Alessandro
Directed by Anthony Caldarella
The tumultuous and inspired story of the great American playwright Tennessee Williams and his friend and muse, the magnificent Italian actress, Anna Magnani. _Tennessee & Anna chronicles the twenty five-year friendship between the great Academy Award winning Italian actress Anna Magnani and Tennessee Williams. Set in Rome during the La Dolce Vita _era, it is a memory play told through the eyes of Tennessee. It is an examination of friendship and art dealing with their mutual passion for theatre, film and for love itself. The two explore great truths about the nature of inspiration, collaboration and the need for artistic expression as they battle their demons, both real and imagined. Tennessee and Anna open their hearts to each other with honesty and frustration, as they search to express the often conflicting need to love and the struggle to accept love.
About the Cast:
Morlan Higgins (Tennessee Williams) most recently appeared in the U.S. premier of Athol Fugard’s_ Train Driver_ at t the Fountain Theatre. In the past year and a half he did the world premier of _Forgiveness _at the Black Dahlia Theatre (Ovation nomination), _ King Lear _at Antaeus Co. and Shining City at the Fountain Theatre (LAWeekly award). His only other appearance at the Odyssey was in Ron Sossi’s revival of Mary Barnes in 1995. At the Fountain Theatre he played Andre in the world premier of Fugard’s _Exits and Entrances _ (Ovation, LADCC, LAWeekly and Garland awards) which was followed by productions in Santa Barbara, Florida(Carbonell nomination), New Jersey (New Jersey Tony), Primary Stages in New York (Lortell Off-Broadway best actor nomination) and Edinburgh. Also at the Fountain—_After the Fall _(LADCC, LA Weekly and Garland awards), _Victory _(LAWeekly nomination, Indy award), Boys in the Band (LAWeekly award) and Borderlines (Dramalogue award). Matrix Theatre Co.—Dealing with Clair, Water Children (LADCC Nomination), Mad Forest(LADCC award, Ovation nomination), and _The Birthday Party _(LA Weekly award). Numerous other play on various local stages include Finally, Black Dahlia (LA Weekly nomination) Dylan, Skylight Theatre (LADCC and Garland awards, LA Weekly nomination), Equus—Pasadena Playhouse (Dramlogue award), A Skull in Connemara, Theatre Tribe (Ovation nomination), Hughie, Eugene O’Neill Foundation at Tao House (Indy award). Morlan’s play Anacardium was workshopped at Circle Rep in NYC starring William Fichtner and later made into an independent feature by the same name. His favorite role was Terry in the U.S. premier of Irish playwright Billy Roche’s Cavalcaders At Florida Stage because that is where he met and co-starred with his life partner of eight years, Kerrie Blaisdell.
*Karen Kondazian’s *(Anna Magnani) career began at the age of 8 when she was chosen to be one of the infamous children on Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darndest Things. The opportunity to miss school during tapings was all it took for Karen to abandon her life’s goal of becoming a CIA spy and focus on acting. She completed her schooling at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), after which she began her theater career in New York. Her first professional work was in the award winning production of Michael Cacoyannis’ The Trojan Women at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Her theater career has included starring opposite Ed Harris in _ Sweet Bird of Youth_ (which she also produced), Richard Chamberlain in _Richard II _(dir. Jonathan Miller), Stacy Keach in Hamlet, (dir. Gordon Davidson) Ray Stricklyn in Vieux Carre (West Coast Premiere-Beverly Hills Playhouse, dir. Clyde Ventura, which she also produced). She also starred in Eduardo Machado’s off-Broadway play, Kissing Fidel (dir. Michael Garces) She won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in The Rose Tattoo_, (in which her work as actor and producer so impressed Tennessee Williams that they became friends and he gave her carte blanche to produce any of his work in his lifetime). Other awards and nominations include Ovation, Drama Critics Circle, LA Weekly and Garlands for,Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? _(Berkeley Rep., dir. Richard Syde) _Orpheus Descending _(Fountain Theatre, dir. Simon Levy) _Night of the Iguana _(Old Globe, dir. Jack O’Brian) Lady House Blues, _Freedomland _(South Coast Rep, dir. David Emmes), The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Fountain Theatre, dir. Simon Levy) Master Class (Odyssey Theatre, dir. Simon Levy)
She has appeared as a series regular lead in CBS’s _Shannon _and guest starred in over 50 television shows and films including, TNT’s _James Dean _with James Franco (dir. Mark Rydell) NYPD Blue, Frasier, _Steal Big Steal Little _with Andy Garcia and Alan Arkin, _Yes, Giorgio _with Luciano Pavarotti, and _My Brother Jack _with Freddy Rodriguez (dir. Anthony Caldarella) She is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio, a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and of Women in Film. She occasionally teaches at the Lee Strasberg School of Theater and Film in Hollywood. Karen is a published writer. She is the author of the book The Actors Encyclopedia of Casting Directors. Her longtime column, Sculpting Your Own Career appeared in Backstage West. She also has a new book, _The Whip _(a historical novel inspired by the true story of Charley Parkhurst, the famous Wells Fargo stagecoach driver, a woman who lived her life as a man) coming out November 1st, 2011.