"Suddenly Last Summer" at the Black Box Theatre -- October 19 through 28.

Thursday, October 19, through Saturday, October 28

Black Box Theatre, 1623 Fifth Avenue, Moline IL

One of Tennessee Williams' most arresting, fascinating and controversial works will enjoy its long-awaited Quad Cities debut when Suddenly Last Summer is staged at Moline's Black Box Theatre October 9 through 28, the legendary playwright's 1957 drama famed for its deep emotionalism, startling themes, and 1959 film version that earned Best Actress Oscar nominations for both Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor.

Set in the late 1930s. Suddenly Last Summer tells the story of Sebastian Venable, a wealthy and secretive poet who died under mysterious circumstances while vacationing in Europe with his cousin Catharine Holly. Catharine claims that Sebastian was killed by a mob of young men whom he had been using as sexual prey, and that they ate his flesh in a cannibalistic frenzy. Sebastian’s mother Violet, however, refuses to believe this version of events, and tries to silence Catharine by having her lobotomized. She invites a young psychiatrist, Dr. Cukrowicz, to her mansion and offers to fund his research if he agrees to perform the operation on Catharine. Dr. Cukrowicz, however, is more interested in hearing Catharine’s story and decides to give her a truth serum to make her talk. As Catharine recounts the horrifying details of Sebastian’s death, Violet becomes increasingly agitated, and tries to stop Catharine from spilling long-held family secrets in this searing drama that is considered one of the greatest American plays of the modernist period.

Directing Suddenly Last Summer for her venue is the Black Box's co-owner and artistic director Lora Adams, whose recent directorial offerings have included Hello, Dolly!, All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, and My Brother's Gift. Portraying Catharine is Noel Jean Huntley, a co-star in the Black Box's recent productions of Natural Shocks and Company, while Violet is played by Patti Flaherty, a longtime Quad Cities favorite whose own Black Box credits include appearing in My Brother's Gift and I Never Saw Another Butterfly and directing The Revolutionists and It Had to Be You. With Dr. Cukrowicz enacted by fellow venue veteran Matt Walsh (Hate Mail, The Turn of the Screw), the Suddenly Last Summer cast is completed by Ann Keeney-Grafft, Lisa Kahn, James Becker, and Jacqueline E. Cohoon. And with director Adams also serving as scenic and costume designer, additional members of her creative team include set constructor Michael Kopriva and lighting designer (and Reader theatre reviewer) Roger Pavey, Jr.

Suddenly Last Summer will be staged in Moline from October 19 through 28, with performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission is $16, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)284-2350 and visiting TheBlackBoxTheatre.com.

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