A New York Theatre Guide to... The Rose Tattoo!

The Broadway revival of The Rose Tattoo, starring Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei, continues at the American Airlines Theatre through December 8, 2019.

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Any time the legendary Tennessee Williams' name finds itself once again up in lights on a Broadway marquee, theatre enthusiasts' interest will be peaked... even if it is attached to one of the icon's lesser known plays. Marking only its third Broadway revival since its 1951 debut, which took home the Tony Award for 'Best Play,' Roundabout Theatre Company has resurrected one of Williams' more playful works for the 2019-2020 season. Directed by Trip Cullman, The Rose Tattoo began performances at the American Airlines Theatre on September 19, 2019, ahead of an official opening on October 15.



What's it all about?

Set in 1950 on the Gulf Coast, not far from New Orleans, The Rose Tattoo follows fiery Sicilian Serafina Delle Rose, a loyal and doting wife, who also runs her own sewing business. After tragic events and dark secrets from the past unfold, Serafina evolves into a hardened widow and single mother with a distinct mistrust for the opposite sex, residing herself to live as a dishevelled hermit in her beachside residence... that is until one Alvaro Mangiacavallo crosses her path! Can Alvaro rekindle the flames of passion that once warmed Serafina's guarded heart and reignite her joie de vivre?


Who's starring in it?

One of the most imposing female characters in the Tennessee Williams canon, immortalized in the 1955 film adaptation with an Oscar-winning performance by Italian actress Anna Magnani, Serafina provides the ultimate star vehicle for women. The role demands nothing less than for a highly accomplished star to step up to the table and, thankfully for Roundabout Theatre Company, they were able to entice Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei back to the New York stage. For those a little longer in the tooth, the Italian American favorite is perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning performance in "My Cousin Vinny," or more recent Oscar-nominated performances in "The Wrestler" and "In the Bedroom." But many youngsters out there will recognise her as Aunt May opposite Tom Holland's Spider-Man in the 'Marvel Cinematic Universe.' And with four previous Broadway credits (most recently in The Realistic Joneses in 2014) and several Off-Broadway credits to her résumé, she is just as accomplished on the stage as she is on screen. A special mention should also go to Emun Elliott, a Scottish actor making a show-stealing Broadway debut as Alvaro.



What's special about this production?

If we're going to be honest, it's always a little bit special when a Hollywood actress proves her acting chops on a New York stage and Marisa Tomei is no exception. She has a certain allure and a physicality that is instantly appealing on stage and, although some may argue she is perhaps a little too attractive to pull off a downtrodden and unsightly Serafina Delle Rose, she embodies the depths of Serafina's grief and the euphoria of her healing process with great precision.

Those familiar with Williams' more frequently produced plays such as The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and A Streetcar Named Desire, might regard The Rose Tattoo as a breath of fresh air thanks to the play's bountiful comedic elements. Yes, there is tragedy and yes, there is conflict, but ultimately the play is a romantic comedy. It's about the emotional healing of a woman, who lets go of the burdens of the past and looks to a brighter future through a new romance. In the same way, this country is in desperate need of some current healing and a more universally loving future, so what better way than to spend an evening or an afternoon watching these two people fall in love and keep our hopes alive and well?



Who would we recommend it to?

The Rose Tattoo is for all of us who might consider ourselves romantics. It's also for Tennessee Williams aficionados, of course, but at its heart, it's for anyone in the New York area who might be feeling a little at a loss for one reason or another and who just needs a little optimism and love in their life. And we all could do with a little bit of that, right?

The Rose Tattoo Tickets are available now for performances through December 8, 2019.

(Photos by Joan Marcus)


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