We are excited for you to see of one of Tennessee Williams’s greatest, yet underappreciated plays: The Rose Tattoo, starring Marisa Tomei and directed by Trip Cullman. The Rose Tattoo marks Roundabout’s ninth Williams production. I am so proud to be a leading producer of Williams’s works, especially with this production of a stunning play, led by two leading luminaries of the theatre.
There are few writers as legendary as Tennessee Williams. In all, he wrote 37 plays, which include some of the greatest in the history of American theatre: The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as well as lesser-known classics like Summer and Smoke, Orpheus Descending, Vieux Carré, and of course, The Rose Tattoo.
While Williams is himself a renowned figure, few characters are as iconic as the women who lead his plays. Alongside A Streetcar Named Desire’s Blanche Dubois and The Glass Menagerie’s Amanda and Laura Wingfield, The Rose Tattoo’s Serafina Delle Rose stands as one of the greatest heroines from one of the world’s greatest dramatists. Winner of the 1951 Tony Award for Best Play, The Rose Tattoo brims with Williams’s characteristic poetry and passion, mining the depths of Serafina’s grief and healing in the wake of her husband’s death. This play, like all of Williams’s classics, contains multitudes. Heartbreaking, and yet unexpectedly comedic, The Rose Tattoo juxtaposes loss with desire, desire with faith, faith with loss. Inspired by the great love affair of Williams’s life, The Rose Tattoo is his “love-play to the world,” celebrating the true joy that comes with falling in and fighting for love—as well as Williams’s adopted homeland of the American Gulf South and the people who live there. The result is a mesmerizing whirlwind of tragedy and comedy unlike anything else in Williams’s oeuvre.
It is only fitting to have one of this generation’s finest actresses bring Serafina back to Broadway, and Marisa Tomei is just that: an unrivaled talent taking on a fascinating role. Marisa has been nominated for three Oscars, and won one for her star-making turn in My Cousin Vinny. She has since made a career playing extraordinary women in films like What Women Want, Anger Management, The Wrestler, The Big Short, and the Avengers franchise. Marisa is also no stranger to the stage, starring on Broadway in Wait Until Dark, Salome, Top Girls, and The Realistic Joneses. I am thrilled to welcome Marisa to the Roundabout stage for the first time, heading up a phenomenal cast.
I am overjoyed to welcome Trip Cullman back to Roundabout, after directing the superb Significant Other for us in 2015, before its Broadway bow in 2017. Trip’s work has also been seen on Broadway in Six Degrees of Separation, Lobby Hero, and Choir Boy. Trip has kept himself busy, as The Rose Tattoo marks his fourth production to open in 2019. His previous work this season includes The Mother, The Pain of My Belligerence, and Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow. I’m so glad that Trip is ending his very busy year back home at Roundabout, and with this remarkable play.
The Rose Tattoo is our first foray back into the world of Tennessee Williams since 2011’s The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. In producing both of these incredible plays, we are squarely aligning ourselves with Roundabout’s mission to bring to new light the traditionally underappreciated works of the canon’s greatest writers. I am especially excited to have this play launching a season that includes productions of two more remarkable works not often given their fair due. We are producing the Broadway premiere of Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier’s Play here at the American Airlines Theatre this winter, followed by a stunning new production of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s groundbreaking musical Caroline, or Change at Studio 54.
As always, I ask you to share your thoughts on this play and our whole season by emailing me at ArtisticOffice@roundabouttheatre.org.
Thank you again for joining us, and I hope you enjoy The Rose Tattoo.