Tennessee Williams’ rare gem ‘Creve Coeur’ gets a lyrical polishing at American Players

Posted July 19, 2019

Cc Chicago

By Lawrence B. Johnson, Chicago on the Aisle, July 19, 2019 

SPRING GREEN, Wis. — Dottie awaits a gentleman caller. Or rather, she’s waiting for a gentleman to call on the phone. She’s certain that he will. This man, the principal at the high school where Dottie teaches civics, made his intentions toward her quite clear before showing her how the passenger seat in his sporty car would recline all the way. All the way might still be ringing, like a phone, in Dottie’s ear.

This is the fraught setup for “A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur,” an obscure play by Tennessee Williams from late in his life: a touching, trenchant, typically insightful and empathic look at aging womanhood – four women in this instance – offered in a production at American Players Theatre that reveals a hidden gem by the incomparable singer of America’s Southern song.

Creve Coeur is a large and popular park in St. Louis, and on this particular Sunday, Bodey, the middle-aged woman with whom Dottie rooms, is frying chicken for an outing there. Bodey has invited her twin brother Buddy, by all accounts a husky and rather simple fellow much given to beer and cigars. The real deal is that Bodey wants to play matchmaker for her brother and Dottie, but Dottie wants none of it. She has a gentleman – a real gentleman – much more to her taste on the string, and he could be calling at any moment.

Cristina Panfilio is radiant as the thirtyish Dottie, palpitating in her eagerness. She complains that while she was having a quick shower, Bodey was surely neglecting the telephone – and suspicious that the older woman, with an agenda of her own, may not be telling the truth about a call that might have come.

Read the full review here!