Since making her splashy, Tony-nominated Broadway debut as Mimi in Rent in 1996, Daphne Rubin-Vega has been a fixture in the New York theater scene. She recently chatted with Broadway.com about her current projects, the web series Hustling, and—fingers crossed—a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, co-starring Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker and Wood Harris.
“As an actor, you always pick up Streetcar because it’s a flawless piece of playwriting,” Rubin-Vega said. “I’m very excited to play Stella, and I have every intention that we’re going to do a terrific job.” Though the revival has yet to secure a Broadway house, the company is still hoping to hit the boards in time to be a 2012 Tony contender. “It’s a project that’s very dear to all of our hearts.”
Streetcar tells the tragic story of fragile former schoolteacher Blanche (Parker), who leaves the family plantation and moves to New Orleans to live with her sister, Stella, and Stella’s animalistic husband, Stanley (Underwood). Making this production of the Williams classic even more interesting, of course, if the choice to cast it with actors of color. “It’s intimidating if you think about what other people are going to think,” Rubin-Vega mused. “Yes, it’s a production of color, and there weren’t any plantation owners of color in the south. But if you do your due diligence, the mixed breed of everyone is amazing, particularly in New Orleans. To me, there’s nothing about people of color doing this production that doesn’t make sense; there’s nothing about it that’s a stretch.”
As they wait to hear if the production will move forward, Rubin-Vega and her co-stars are hard at work. “We’ve been in contact, trying to keep it solid until the day we start flying together,” she said of her castmates. “I met up with the whole posse in L.A. at one point, and Nicole and [director] Emily Mann and our set designer Eugene Lee and I went to New Orleans together, and it was amazing,” she gushed. “We were just soaking in the feel of the 'gens de couleur,' which is the free people of color, and their history and how that would work in with Streetcar. It was great just being in the French Quarter and soaking up the local flavor, being together and doing some pre-production research, as it were. It was a lot of fun.”