Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald will star in Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Audible Theater production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The production will be available on Audible on Dec. 3.

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WILLIAMSTOWN — The first four productions in Williamstown Theatre Festival’s seven-production Audible Theater series are scheduled for release in December.

First up on Dec. 3 is Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” followed by “Photograph 51,” Dec. 10; “Animals,” Dec. 17; and “Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club,” Dec. 29.

“Williamstown Theatre Festival is thrilled to bring our productions to life through our collaboration with Audible, the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks,” Festival Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield said in a prepared statement.

“The opportunity to bring the healing power of theater to a broader audience is an unexpected silver lining in a time of great uncertainty and turmoil in our world.”

“Streetcar ... “ is directed by Robert O’Hara and stars Audra McDonald and Carla Gugino as, respectively, Blanche and Stella, two sisters who have a strained, emotionally charged relationship that is not made easier when the haunted, emotionally fragile Blanche seeks refuge with Stella and her brutish husband, Stanley (Ariel Shafir), in their New Orleans apartment.

Written by Anna Ziegler, directed by Susan Stroman and featuring Anna Chlumsky in the cast, “Photograph 51” deals with the pressures faced by a female chemist in 1951 London as she competes with a rival team of chemists who are in driven pursuit of a discovery that could unlock the mysteries of the DNA molecule.

Directed by Whitney White, Stacy Osei-Kuffour’s world premiere comedy “Animals” is about a dinner party for four that goes off the rails when the host, Henry (Jason Butler Harner) unexpectedly proposes to the hostess, Lydia (Aja Naomi King), just as their guests, played by Madeline Brewer and William Jackson Harper, are about to arrive.

Shakina Nayfack’s “Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club” is set at a hotel in Thailand where an international group of transgender women are wrestling with the challenges and joys of gender confirmation surgery, especially as one of them is preparing for the procedure all alone. Laura Savia is the director.

Rounding out the series are three productions that are in the casting or rehearsal phase. Release dates have yet to be determined. The three shows are:

“Row,” a world premiere musical by Daniel Goldstein (book) and Dawn Landes (music and lyrics), inspired by “A Pearl in the Storm” by Tori Murden McClure, about the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. Tyne Rafaeli is directing.

“Wish You Were Here,” a world premiere of Sanaz Toossi’s play about friendship amid the political turmoil in Iran, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch;

Dominique Morisseau’s “Paradise Blue,” directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson with a cast whose members include Blair Underwood and Andre Holland. This second play in Morisseau’s Detroit trilogy is a drama about a Detroit club owner and extraordinary trumpeter who has reached a crossroad in his life within and without his club — one of the few remaining Black-owned businesses in a neighborhood the city is targeting for redevelopment. “Paradise Blue” had its world premiere at Williamstown in 2015. It is replacing the previously announced “Cult of Love” in this “Williamstown in Audible” series.

Jeffrey Borak can be reached at jborak@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6212


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