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A-level English - A streetcar named Desire: Main

The play by Tennessee Williams

The Play

Streetcar named Desire

In A Nutshell

Tennessee Williams is an American playwright famous for three big plays: Glass Menagerie in 1944, A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. If The Glass Menagerie propelled Williams to fame, Streetcar ensured that his name would never leave the ranks of the playwright elite. The play, which tells the story of an aging Southern belle’s difficult relationship with her aggressive brother-in-law, was successful both commercially and critically. It opened in December of 1947 on Broadway and ran for over two full years, earning two Tony awards for the stage production and the 1948 Pulitzer Prize.
Source: Shmoop

On Broadway

The initial Broadway cast is almost as famous as the play for one big reason: Marlon Brando(whom we know as the Godfather). Virtually an unknown at the time of the play’s casting, Streetcar propelled this young star to big-time fame after the Broadway production was converted to a blockbuster movie in 1951. The only change from the Broadway cast was the role of protagonist Blanche DuBois, given in the film to then-famous Vivian Leigh (Scarlett from Gone with the Wind).

More Links and articles


Link to the Spark notes webpage which includes a plot overview, character analysis and information on themes, motifs and symbols used in the book.

Books in the Senior Library