BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji Community Theater’s next production, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” showcases dramatic talents of some cast members who are better known for musical roles. The play opens Friday at the Historic Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji.

Director Vicki L. Stenerson is excited about a cast that brings the gritty, dark play to life.

“It’s at a time when things were tough,” Stenerson said. “Times were rough and so were people. I am impressed by my cast.”

Julie Kaiser, who has showcased her strong voice in several musicals, plays Blanche DuBois, who travels from a small Mississippi town to the New Orleans French Quarter to live with her younger, married sister, Stella, and brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. Blanche is in her thirties and, with no money, has nowhere else to go.

Robert Saxton plays Stanley, whom Stenerson describes as a dark and primal character.

“He is a typical 1947 southern male,” she said. “King of his castle, on the rough side.” Saxton has done mostly musicals for BCT, including roles of Bert in “Mary Poppins” and Captain Hook in “Peter Pan.”

“When he auditioned I was rather blown away by his intensity and his ability to play the rough Stanley,” Stenerson said. “His other roles have been more funny and light.”

The other two main characters in “Streetcar” are played by Blair Caspers Treuer and Howard Hurdler. Treuer plays Stella and Hurdler plays Harold Mitchell, one of Stanley’s poker player buddies.

“Blair is able to do the gentle but strong character of Stella,” Stenerson said. “In 1947 women didn't have a whole lot of choices of what they were going to do with their lives. She has the ability to play the subservient wife role but still have an inner strength that when she has to stand up to Stanley, she has the ability to do that. Blair does that very well.”

The small cast also includes Mary Anderson as Eunice, Steve Mayer as Steve, Gail Durgan as the nurse, LaDon Howes as the doctor, Amanda Davenport in two roles and Eric Callagan in two roles.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” is a 1947 play written by American playwright Tennessee Williams that received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.

If you go

What: “A Streetcar Named Desire,” by Tennessee Williams

When: Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 9 and 16 at 2 p.m.

Where: Historic Chief Theater

Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors. Available at Iverson Corner Drug and Ken K. Thompson Jewelry.

Note: This play is rated PG-13 and is not suitable for children.