I had the pleasure of going to see the latest multi-racial version of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway the other night. As the curtain rose, I was transported to a hot and steamy French Quarter in New Orleans. The Terence Blanchard jazz score, a tribute to New Orleans, is a character of its own, capturing the mood of every scene.

When Blanche DuBois (Nicole Ari Parker) arrives on Elysian Fields Avenue, she captivated me with her wit, her energy, her vulnerability and her strength. Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega) is feisty and challenging. She drew me into her love affair with Stanley (Blair Underwood).

We all see why Stella is completely taken with the guy. Blair is very believable as a brute that loves his wife but cannot control his rage. Blanche and her antics were intoxicating because Nicole brings the soul of a woman who is delusional, has had a hard life, and still struggles for survival with pride.

The brief romance with Mitch (Wood Harris) is a welcome diversion that shows Wood in a different light than the Avon Barksdale (HBO’s The Wire) we associate with him. He stands as a counter-balance to Stanley in their friendship without ever leading us to believe he would overtake Stanley’s alpha-male energy.

There’s no downtime in the play and the audience hangs on every word. This production is a must-see experience, so run and see before it ends! We will never see a cast like this again OR A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE LIKE THIS ONE. It was nothing less than incredible in my opinion.

A Streetcar Named Desire has been nominated for’s Audience Choice Award. Click HERE to vote!

-Russell Simmons

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