The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore is the clunky-titled Tennessee Williams obscurity that’s in previews at the Roundabout. I think the Roundabout was looking to strike gold twice with old Tennessee. Last year, they mounted a landmark production of The Glass Menagerie with Judith Ivey that was, as far as I’m concerned, as good a night of theater as you can ever hope to get. Blue roses!~~~
Milk Train premiered in 1962 to generally poor reviews, which is probably why you don’t hear it mentioned in the same breath as Glass Menagerie, Streetcar and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A Broadway revival in 1964 starring Tallulah Bankhead and Tab Hunter (!?!?!?!) also tanked.
I admire the Roundabout’s spirit and sense of daring but, I’m sorry, this train is off the tracks. (Ha. I said it first. I guarantee that some legitimate critic will steal that from me.)
I went with CB who liked it a lot, especially the first act. It’s all so subjective! We saw the exact same performance and the things that didn’t work for me (dialogue, some of the cast, the ludicrous plot) weren’t a problem for CB at all! CB has a masters degree from Columbia and has written full-blown plays, so it’s probably safer if you take his word for it. Don’t listen to me. I like Rush.
Olympia Dukakis plays Flora Goforth, the fatally ill, supremely wealthy matron who’s just looking for love, love, love, baby, in between morphine injections. All the Tennessee Williams women have the same desperate nature. She does a fine job but I don’t think the script does her any favors. Her hysterical geisha dance is almost worth the cost of the ticket alone.
Flora’s secretary, Francis “Blackie” Black (rolls his eyes), is her eventual rival for the hot young stud who climbs up the side of a mountain to meet them. (But not before being attacked and bloodied by the security dogs. Not kidding.) The actress playing Blackie seemed uncomfortable in the her character’s shoes.
Isn’t that a great poster, though?