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Laughs end Williams’ year

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Take the brutish Stanley Kowalski from Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” and cross him with repressed drunk Brick Pollitt from Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and what have you got?

You’ve got “Cat on a Streetcar Named Iguana,” a musical comedy by Albuquerque playwright Phil Bock, who takes several other characters from Williams’ various plays and infuses them into his play. What emerges is a comically inventive homage to Williams, which Bock first presented in 2000 at the Adobe Theater.

“This is one of my favorite works,” Bock said. “It honors America’s most poetic playwright while having fun with some of his notable characters.

‘Cat on a Streetcar Named Iguana’
WHEN: Tonight through Dec. 18. Performances at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays
WHERE: Adobe Theater, 9813 Fourth NW, two blocks north of Alameda
HOW MUCH: $15 general admission, $13 for seniors and students at 898-9222 or www.adobetheater.org

“I’m pleased that audiences will have another chance to enjoy it,” he added.

Bock’s play will conclude a yearlong Tennessee Williams Festival sponsored by the Albuquerque Theater Guild to honor Williams on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The festival kicked off in January with the documentary play “Mr. Williams and Miss Wood,” also presented at the Adobe Theater.

Williams’ work was presented and discussed at a dozen different theatrical venues throughout Albuquerque, Bock said.

Bock’s musical tribute brings together characters from three of Williams’ major plays to Big Dad’s birthday party on his Mumbo Peanut Plantation. Blanche DuBois, a fading relic of the old South, is there from “Streetcar,” and has brought along her Grandfather, the Old Poet from “Night of the Iguana,” as well as her collection of glass animals from “The Glass Menagerie.”

“I got this notion of bringing together several of Williams’ characters and adding music, and it all seemed to come together very nicely,” Bock said.

The cast includes Hugh Wittemeyer as Big Dad, Becky Mayo as Big Mom and Jeannie Westwood as Blanche, with Arthur Alpert as the Old Poet. Barbara Bock directs and designed the set.

The musical features 14 songs, including “Party Time,” “What’s in a Name?” and “Come up and See.”

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