American screen actress Jessica Lange returned to the West End stage last night (13 February 2007, previews from 31 January) in impresario Bill Kenwright’s production of Tennessee Williams’ 1945 classic The Glass Menagerie, which continues its limited run at the Apollo Theatre until 19 May (See News, 5 Jan 2007).

Set in St Louis in the 1930s, The Glass Menagerie tells the story of the Wingfield family – Tom (Ed Stoppard), who is torn between his obligation to his family and his desire to break away, his overbearing mother Amanda (Lange), and his frail sister Laura (Amanda Hale), who lives out her own dreams with her cherished collection of glass animals, until a beloved gentleman caller (Mark Umbers) arrives at the apartment.

Lange – whose many film credits include Tootsie and Blue Sky, both of which won her Academy Awards - made her London stage debut playing Blanche Dubois in a 1996 revival of Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. She was last seen in the West End in Bill Kenwright’s 2000 revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day's Journey into Night (See News, 22 Aug 2000).

Lange first played Amanda Wingfield for Kenwright in a 2005 Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie which co-starred Christian Slater and was directed by Briton David Leveaux. This new London production has been directed by Headlong artistic director Rupert Goold.

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand at the curtain call of The Glass Menagerie at the Apollo Theatre and at the post-show party at Les Ambassadeurs along with the company and other guests including Elaine Paige, Peter Bowles, Gloria Hunniford, Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein and life coach Carole Caplin.

- by Terri Paddock