Director Joe Rosario discusses ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’

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Director Joe Rosario
Director Joe Rosario. Photo Courtesy of Miles Skalli

Director Joe Rosario spoke with #Powerjournalist Markos Papadatos about the upcoming Ruth Stage production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” which will have its opening night on Sunday, March 5, 2023.

“It’s actually quite exciting,” he exclaimed about the re-engagement, which stars Matt de Rogatis as Brick. “You have all this extremely hard work in getting the show prepped, fundraising, casting, and all that fun stuff to a point where you are frazzled. But then you walk into that first  table read and the juices start flowing all over again. Its crazy but a hell of a ride!”

He expressed that the Tennessee Williams Estate has been very “supportive of their vision.” “I have to tell you I’m still in Tennessee Williams heaven floating around,” he said. “To be able to direct the first off-Broadway production ever only to return with the first and only re-engagement, wow! My only regret is that the man himself is not around to see the show. It would of been great to hang with him!”

Rosario praised his lead actress Courtney Henggeler for taking over the role of Maggie. “Courtney is one of the funniest persons I’ve ever worked with. I laugh everyday with her. When it comes to her work she is all business and delivers with a knockout punch. She will set the new standard for Maggie’s. Sexy, funny, and determined. She is Maggie the Cat,” he exclaimed.

He also had great words about Frederick Weller, who will be playing Big Daddy. “I love Fred. He is the definition of a committed actor who is devoted to his craft. Top to bottom he covers everything. Its great to se him work. Along with Fred and Courtney we have a great cast of new actor who bring a fresh perspective to the show. If you thought the summer production was hot, prepare to sizzle when you see the new show,” he said.

The acclaimed director described Ruth Stage as a “small group with a big punch.” “We sort of redefined the whole business model to fit the post covid, new economy business model. Since we are a non-profit  who constantly fund raise, we watch every cent. Every once in a while you need to say, we got as much as we could out of the old stuff. Time for a facelift , but only if it’s on sale,” he said with a laugh.

“Be prepared for an amazing roller coaster ride,” he foreshadowed about the play. “If you thought Brick (Matt de Rogatis) was on an emotional tornado last run, fasten your seatbelts. Big Mama (Alison Fraser) who also is returning has re-invented the role. She is a Big Mama for the ages. The show really takes you on a psychological  journey into the deepest and darkest inner beings  of our main characters,” he said.

“The transformation into  todays world while keeping of course the amazing dialogue of Williams is worth the price of the ticket.  I want to open this show up not only to those who have seen earlier versions and remember the film version, but to those who never experienced this play or Tennessee Williams. The themes are just as important today as they were then. We just opened up the door to let more people in,” he elaborated.

“I am amazed at the amount of tickets we have sold by just word of mouth along with repeat sales from the summer production. There is an amazing buzz around the show, even within the industry. This show will be a sell out at the rate we are going. I really urge anyone who wants to see this classic or experience amazing theatre, come to the show. You won’t be disappointed,” Rosario concluded.

To learn more about “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” check out the official Ruth Stage website.