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Ashford '82 Climbs a Hot Tin Roof

You may have heard director Rob Ashford and cast members of Broadway’s new production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” during an NPR “Morning Edition” story yesterday, Jan. 17. That was opening night for the play.

The last time we blogged about Rob, one of Broadway’s best directors and choreographers, this member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1982 was up for two Tony Awards for his work on “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Now he is steering another classic, which first appeared on Broadway in 1955.

This isn’t Rob’s first time working with a Tennessee Williams play; in 2009, he directed an acclaimed version of “A Streetcar Named Desire” at London’s Donmar Warehouse. His New York cast for “Cat” includes Scarlett Johansson, Ciarán Hinds and Benjamin Walker.

As Rob told NPR: “When we started rehearsal, one of the first things I said to them was, ‘If I could take these characters off these pedestals where they’ve been placed and just kind of put them back in the play, let’s make that our goal’.”

Benjamin Walker, who became a Broadway star with his role in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” appreciates Rob’s take. “I think what Rob has done is to embrace those complexities that are already in the play — I think that’ll surprise people,” he told NPR.

You can read more about Rob, his career and the production at the “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” website. If you are in New York, you can see the play through March 30. And you can see more of Rob’s talent on television, on Feb. 24; he’ll be choreographing the Academy Awards.

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