Tennessee Williams’ first major work, The Glass Menagerie, was a memory play, a woozy dream refracted through the prism of experience. At its best, it has an otherworldly quality — something musical theater, with its artifice of breaking into song, should complement. But Shelley Butler, the director of Blue Roses, a world premiere adaptation of Menagerie now at Lyric Stage, doesn’t effectively conjure that feeling; despite a minimalist set, the style has a flat, realistic affect.
That’s too bad, because you can sense the promise in the show. The music (by Nancy Ford) and the book and lyrics (by Mimi Turque) capture Williams’ tone, and the songs, while plagued by a charming sameness (they all remind me of variations on Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat”), are lovely and sung well by the vocally gifted cast. But Sally Mayes is both too shrill and too slow with Amanda’s lines, and Duke Anderson’s Tom, a stand-in for Williams, doesn’t project the needed “tortured artist” persona.
Dupree Theater, 3333 N. McArthur Blvd., Irving. Through Feb. 23. LyricStage.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 14, 2014.