A rose by any other name…
…Would smell as sweet as Tennessee Williams’ Tony Award-winning play, which has been revived at Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre, directed by Trip Cullman. Hysterical and heartbreaking, The Rose Tattoo tells the story of Serafina Delle Rose, an Italian-American widow in New Orleans who has withdrawn herself from the world after the death of her husband and expects her young teenage daughter, Rosa, to do the same. However, she learns to rekindle her desire for love, lust and life in the arms of a fiery suitor.
Although not as popular as A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams’ lesser-known gem shines with humor and heart in the play that won the Tony for Best Play.
Marisa Tomei slays in a role she knows so well: an Italian-American woman whose feisty passion and caring nature overcomes any sense of reason. But Tomei’s first foray on Broadway came in 1986 in an off-Broadway production of Daughters, where she played the role of Cetta. More recently, she has performed in The Realistic Joneses as Pony Jones (2014, Broadway), The Rose Tattoo as Serafina Delle Rose (2016, Williamstown Theatre Festival) and How to Transcend a Happy Marriage by Sarah Ruhl (2017; Off-Broadway). Tomei’s turn as Serafina is a welcome return to the Broadway stage, where fans know her these days as Aunt May in Marvel’s Spider-Man films.
She successfully exemplifies one of the many beautiful and damned female characters created by Williams a la Blanche DuBois. Tomei is raw in her character’s emotion, quick with her wits and natural and relatable in her needs as a woman.
The play, which began preview performances in September and officially opened on Oct. 15 also features Cassie Beck as “Miss Yorke,” Alexander Bello as “Salvatore,” Tina Benko as “Estelle Hoehengarten,” Andréa Burns as “Peppina,” Susan Cella as “Giuseppina,” Emun Elliott as “Alvaro Mangiacavallo,” Paige Gilbert as “Bessie,” Greg Hildreth as “The Salesman,” Isabella Iannelli as “Vivi,” Jacob Michael Laval as “Bruno,” Ellyn Marie Marsh as “Violetta,” Carolyn Mignini as “Assunta,” Portia as “Flora,” Ella Rubin as “Rosa,” Jennifer Sánchez as “Mariella,” Constance Shulman as “The Strega” and Burke Swanson as “Jack.”
The play’s design team includes Mark Wendland (sets), Clint Ramos (costumes), Ben Stanton (lights), Fitz Patton (original music and sound), and Lucy Mackinnon (projections).
If you are looking for laughs and love, do not miss The Rose Tattoo and Tomei’s stellar performance as she returns home to Broadway, but only for a short time.
Tickets for The Rose Tattoo, presented by Roundabout Theatre Company, are available for a limited engagement through Dec. 8 by calling 212-719-1300 or by visiting www.roundabouttheatre.org. The American Airlines Theatre on Broadway is located at 227 West 42nd St.