Sweet Bird of Youth

Play by Tennessee Williams. Fleeing the disastrous premiere of her comeback film, Hollywood legend Alexandra Del Lago, ravaged by bitterness of failre and despair, travels incognito as the Princess Kosmonopolis seeking refuge in drink, drugs and the arms of Chance Wayne, an idealistic young dreamer turned gigiolo and hellbent on achieving his own movie stardom. But a trip to Chance's hometown in a bid to win back his childhood sweetheart sees their relationship of convenience unravel in Williams's vivid and haunting portrait of the destruction of dreams.

1985 with Lauren Bacall - Original West End London Production

1994 with Clare Higgins - London Revival

2013 with Kim Cattrall - 1st West End London Revival

The British Premiere opened on 1 February 1964 at the Manchester Experimental Theatre Club (in the railway arches of Great Ducie Street, now disused) playing for one week, up to 9 February 1964, with a cast that featured Irene Rostron as 'Alexandra del Lago' and Ron Skinner as 'Chance Wayne', directed and designed by Vivien Whiteman.

The first major British production opened on 19 November 1968 at the Watford Palace Theatre, running for two weeks, up to 30 November 1968, with a cast that featured Vivien Merchant as 'Alexandra del Lago' and Christopher Gable as 'Chance Wayne', directed by Giles Havergal, with designs by Phillip Prowse.

Tennessee Williams' other plays seen on stage in London's West End include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; The Night Of The Iguana; Suddenly Last Summer; The Glass Menagerie; Summer and Smoke; and Baby Doll.


1985 with Lauren Bacall - Original West End London Production

Previewed 26 June 1985, Opened 9 July 1985, Closed 16 November 1985 at the Haymarket Theatre

The cast featured Lauren Bacall as 'Alexandra del Lago (AKA The Princess Kosmonopolis)', Michael Beck as 'Chance Wayne', Geraldine Alexander as 'Heavenly Finley', James Grout as 'Boss Finley', Frances Cuka as 'Miss Lucy', Simon Rouse as 'Tom Junior', Alice Drummond as 'Aunt Nonnie', and Colin Reese as 'George Scudder', with Martin Aylott as 'Photographer', Jay Bendict as 'The Heckler', Nicholas Brent as 'State Trooper', Christopher Cooper as 'Stuff', Lynn Grant as 'Drum Majorette', Ian Morton as 'Scotty', Tacye Nichols as 'Edna', Herbert Norville as 'Page', David Owen as 'Jackie the Pianist', William Payne as 'Charles', Jane Picking as 'Violet', Michael Shallard as 'Bud', Michael Shevelew as 'Hatcher', Johnny Worthy as 'Fly', David Cunningham, and Andrew Roberts.

Directed by Harold Pinter, with sets by Eileen Diss, costumes by Robin Fraser Paye, lighting by Nick Hughes, and music by Dominic Muldowney.


1994 with Clare Higgins - London Revival

Previewed 10 June 1994, Opened 16 June 1994, Closed 16 November 1994 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre

The cast featured Clare Higgins as 'Alexandra del Lago (AKA The Princess Kosmonopolis)', Robert Knepper as 'Chance Wayne', Emma Amos as 'Heavenly Finley', Richard Pasco as 'Boss Finley', Diane Langton as 'Miss Lucy', George Anton as 'Tom Junior', Alison Fiske as 'Aunt Nonnie', and Colin Stinton as 'George Scudder', with Paul Benzing as 'Scotty', Paul Birchard as 'Bud', Sam Douglas as 'The Heckler', Regina Freedman as 'Violet', Sally Giles as 'Edna', Marcus Heath as 'Charles', Damien Matthews as 'Stuff', Nathan Osgood as 'Dan Hatcher', Giles Tomlin as 'Fly', Kate Dyson, Harriet Robinson, Aidan Tierney, and Mitch Webb.

Directed by Richard Eyre, with designs by Anthony Ward, projections by Mark Douet, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Richard Hartley, and sound by Scott Myers.


2013 with Kim Cattrall - 1st West End London Revival

Previewed 1 June 2013, Opened 12 June 2013, Closed 31 August 2013 at the Old Vic Theatre

A major revival of Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth in London starring Kim Cattrall

The cast featured Kim Cattrall as 'Alexandra del Lago (AKA The Princess Kosmonopolis)', Seth Numrich as 'Chance Wayne', Louise Dylan as 'Heavenly Finley', Owen Roe as 'Boss Finley', Lucy Robinson as 'Miss Lucy', Charles Aitken as 'Tom Junior', Brid Brennan as 'Aunt Nonnie', and Daniel Betts as 'George Scudder' with Michael Begley as 'The Heckler', Ruari Cannon as 'Stuff', Kurt Kansley as 'Jackie the Pianist', Sean McConaghy as 'Scotty', Katie Meekison as 'Edna', Violet Ryder as 'Violet', Anthony Taylor as 'Fly', Joe Townley as 'Hatcher', John Trindle as 'Bud', David Webber as 'Charles', Emily De Cosimo, Bryonie Pritchard, Ryan Saunders, and Alistair Scott.

Play edited by James Graham. Directed by Marianne Elliott, with designs by Rae Smith, lighting by Bruno Poet, and sound by Dan Jones.

Kim Cattrall is best known for playing 'Samantha Jones' in the hit TV series Sex and the City including the two spin-off movies. She made her British Theatre debut playing 'Claire Harrison' in Peter Hall's revival of Brian Clark's Whose Life is it Anyway? at the Comedy Theatre in 2005, which was followed by playing 'Donny' in Josie Rourke' revival of David Memet's The Cryptogram at the Donmar Warehouse in 2006, and 'Amanda Prynne' in Richard Eyre's revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives at Vaudeville Theatre in 2010.

When this production opened Paul Taylor in the Independent said that this "powerful revival by Marianne Elliott of Tennessee Williams' mordantly funny and deeply troubled meditation on the desperate dismay of ageing and the iniquities of racial bigotry," is "strongly recommended." Michael Billington in the Guardian praised how "the excellent Kim Cattrall... conveys the desperation of a woman who knows she is the product of an industry where you're only as good as your last movie." Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted that "Kim Cattrall avoids the danger of overplaying, joins her character’s dots to make a compelling, credible picture of monstrous ego and vulnerability too." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph hailed that "in Marianne Elliott's superb staging... Sweet Bird of Youth certainly isn't a play for the faint-hearted but boy does it deliver the theatrical goods." Simon Edge in the Daily Express wrote: "I found it hard to care what happened to either of the two central characters or to believe in any ties between them. The only thing I really bought was Kim Cattrall skipping off to a new dawn after learning that accounts of her geriatric demise had been premature." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail described how "Marianne Elliott's staging is strikingly extravagant. The sets and lighting are tops... the whole thing is showy, slick, but less profound than it thinks it is."

Sweet Bird of Youth in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 1 June 2013, opened on 12 June 2013, and closed on 31 August 2013.