ford's theatre
Photo courtesy Ford’s Theatre

A Contemporary Take on The Glass Menagerie

Two of the DC area’s most versatile actors are joining forces as siblings with a deeply loving yet complex relationship in The Glass Menagerie at Ford’s Theatre from January 22 to February 21.

Tom Story and Jenna Sokolowski star as Tom and Laura Wingfield in Ford’s production of this classic that launched the successful career of Tennessee Williams as one of the great American playwrights of the 20th century. The Glass Menagerie is the first Williams’ play to be produced at Ford’s, with director Mark Ramont focusing the lens on the unshakable bond between Tom and Laura.

The memory play opens with Tom, who reminisces with the audience about his complicated dynamic with Laura and their mother Amanda, played by Madeleine Potter. For Story (who had this reviewer in stitches during Arena Stage’s recent production of Oliver! as the hilarious, slinking Mr. Sowerberry), the concept of portraying the memory of a character is particularly intriguing because he first played Tom nearly a decade ago.

“It’s interesting because it’s a play about memory and I have a memory of the play,” Story says. “I wanted to see what it would be like to do the play again as a man really looking back on his life.”

Sokolowski is embracing her role with a fresh perspective, navigating the nuanced intricacies of her character’s ability to express her feelings and relate to her brother. The local actress (memorable to this reviewer as the immensely entertaining and slightly ditzy Phyllis in last fall’s comedic The Shoplifters at Arena), notes that part of what makes the play so relatable is the universal theme of the human struggle to remain positive during hard times.

She also credits Ramont with the production’s relevancy, and describes his directing approach as unique and in his own voice.

“It feels very modern,” Story agrees. “It doesn’t feel like a museum piece in any way. You’re going to have a chance to see a classic of the American theater done in a very immediate, contemporary way in a historic American theater. There’s something about those two things happening at once that feels like an event to me.”

Tickets to The Glass Menagerie start at $20, and Ford’s offers discounted tickets and complimentary libations during Under 35 Night on February 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Ford’s Theatre: 511 10th St. NW, DC; 202-347-4833; www.fords.org

Photo courtesy Ford’s Theatre