The Glass Menagerie Opening Thursday

Perhaps one of Tennessee Williams’ most renowned pieces of work, The Glass Menagerie follows a family in Depression-era St. Louis as they struggle to make sense of the world. Cornell College will be co-producing the play with Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, drawing on talents from both crews for acting and production.

Jim VanValen, associate professor of theatre and head of acting, will play the role of Tom Wingfield, the youngest son of Amanda Wingfield (portrayed by Jody Hovland, distinguished artist-in-residence and artistic director for Riverside Theatre) who aspires to be a poet but must work in a shoe warehouse to support his family at Amanda’s insistence.

Catherine Backer (18) will play Laura Wingfield, Tom’s older sister, who struggles with crippling shyness and a mental fragility brought on by a childhood illness.

The play centers around Amanda wanting to find a “gentleman caller” for Laura, and she asks that Tom bring home a young man from work who may be appropriate for her daughter. Tom eventually brings home Jim O’Connor, played by Aaron Weiner of Riverside Theatre, and the rest of the play follows the interchanges between Jim and the various members of the Wingfield family during and after dinner.

The play opens Thursday, Oct. 29 at Cornell, and will run through Oct. 31 in the Plumb-Fleming Black Box Theatre, tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at (319) 895-4293 or emailing them at

The play will run at Riverside Theatre Nov. 6-22. Times and tickets can be found on their website


Hannah Robertson, News Editor