Summer and Smoke

Character: Alma Winemiller

Directed by: David Warren

Written by: Tennessee Williams

Produced by: The Roundabout Theatre Company

Cast Members: Harry Hamlin, Ken Jenkins, Roberta Maxwell, Celia Weston, Chad Aaron, Emilio Del Pozo, Adam LeFevre, Lisa Leguillou, Nathalie Paulding, James Pritchett, Hayley Sparks, Todd Weeks, Elizabeth Zambetti

Venue: Criterion Center Stage Right

Production Dates: September 05, 1996 - October 20, 1996

Genre: Drama

Summer and Smoke is set in Glorious Hill, Mississippi, from the "turn of the century through 1916", and centers on a highly-strung, unmarried minister's daughter, Alma Winemiller, and the spiritual/sexual romance that nearly blossoms between her and the wild, undisciplined young doctor who grew up next door, John Buchanan, Jr. She, ineffably refined, identifies with the Gothic cathedral, "reaching up to something beyond attainment"; her name, as Williams makes clear during the play, means "soul" in Spanish; whereas Buchanan, doctor and sensualist, defies her with the soulless anatomy chart.


But as Mary McDonnell glides into her role as one of the playwright’s wilted magnolias, any initial flaws in David Warren’s production fade as surely as any of Williams’ Southern belles. As Alma Winemiller, the sexually repressed spinster hopelessly in love with the hedonistic son of the town doctor, McDonnell rises above her own good looks (she’s hardly the plain Geraldine Page type usually associated with the role) to offer a convincing portrait of loneliness, need and (unlike the character’s “Streetcar” counterpart) survival, however compromised. Her performance gives the Roundabout production its center, even while the play calls for a more balanced dance between the spinster and young John Buchanan Jr. (Harry Hamlin).Variety

Script developed by Never Enough Design