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Ross Valley Players Stage Williams' "Iguana"

Drama set in Puerto Vallarta takes on a local flavor in RVP staging

The are celebrating playwright Tennessee Williams’ centenary by putting its own spin on The Night of the Iguana, one of his plays that's performed with equal success on the stage as well as on film. For the first performance, a special “pay what you will” preview is set for Thursday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m., allowing everyone to afford a night at the theater.

The Night of the Iguana will continue its run through June 17 at the Barn Theater in the in Ross. The play is directed by Cris Cassell of San Francisco. According to producer Wood Lockhart of Sausalito, this is the first time the theater has performed The Night of the Iguana.

Set in the Mexican coastal jungle with a collection of characters in search of redemption, the story builds with a passionate intensity. Central characters include a clergyman who has fallen from grace of the church, become a tour guide, and abandoned a busload of American Baptist women in a hotel run by the widow Maxine.

In the middle of the action is a captured iguana tied to a post in the yard and seemingly like the others — at the end of its rope, explains Lockhart.

The original Broadway production of The Night of the Iguana premiered in 1961 with Bette Davis as the role of Maxine. Shelley Winters replaced her later in the production. The 1964 film was directed by John Huston and starred Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr and still has a cult following.

Cast members in the Ross Valley Players production include: Eric Burke of Santa Rosa as Rev. Shannon; Kristine Ann Lowry of San Rafael as Hannah; Cat Bish of Rohnert Park as Maxine; Lockhart as Nonno; Sandi Rubay of San Rafael as Miss Fellowes; Kushi Beauchamp of Fairfax as Charlotte; Richard Kerrigan of Novato as Hank; Mark Toepfer of Novato as Jake Latta; Noah Benet of Greenbrae as Pedro; and Eric Sadler of San Francisco as Pancho.

Performances will be through June 17 with Thursday performances at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m.; and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. There is no matinee on May 20.

Cost is $25 for general admission with senior (62 and above) and youth (18 and under) tickets at $20 and Thursday shows $17 for everyone. For tickets, call 415-456-9555, ext. 1 or go to www.rossvalleyplayers.com.

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