Tennessee Williams Festival Adds Jazz Brunch, New Performances for 2017
The festival runs May 3rd through 7th, in venues across the Grand Center Theatre District, utilizing some of St. Louis' hot new venues for these rare theatrical events.
Angelica Page (Broadway actress and daughter of Academy Award-winning actress Geraldine Page) will headline ENSEMBLE 2.0, Monday, May 8th at 8pm at the .ZACK. Staged as a dramatic reading with music, home movies, family photos, and interviews, it is based on Francesca Williams's collection of family letters from and about her famous uncle.
Locals will particularly enjoy St. Louis Stories, a compilation of unpublished stories by Williams set in the hometown of his youth. These short stories and narrative poems will be presented in a dramatic performance with an ensemble of actors from the Theatre Program of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, at the .ZACK on Saturday, May 6th at 2pm.
The festival is thrilled to announce their collaboration with Opera Theatre of St. Louis for a rare performance by soprano Deanna Breiwick of Stella's aria, "I Can Hardly Stand It," from Andre Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, during the Tennessee Williams Tribute: Magic of the Other. In addition to this unique vocal treat, the evening also features scenes, songs, and poetry as interpreted by special guests including Lara Teeter, Elizabeth Teeter, Anita Jackson, Michael James Reed, Stellie Siteman, J. Samuel Davis and Jeremy Lawrence. This program will again be curated by Thomas Keith, editor of the continuing series of Williams' newly collected works for the New Directions Press in New York.
Extended dates for the marquee production of the festival, Small Craft Warnings have been added through May 14th. Richard Corley, one of America's most praisEd Williams directors, directs a cast of St. Louis's top performers in this "unacknowledgEd Williams masterpiece." The cast is headlined by New York's much-laudEd Williams interpreter Jeremy Lawrence as Doc, a role Williams himself played in its original New York City run.
Will Mr. Merriweather Return from Memphis will also have additional dates at the historic Stockton House, through May 21st. This intimate, funny, poignant play will be directed by local favorite Jef Awada in its first professional production in fifty years. This venue hosted the scarcest ticket in town last year, so theater-goers should get their tickets early.
Festival goers are invited to attend a festive New Orleans Style Brunch on Sunday May 7th at the newly renovated Dark Room. Live music from the Tommy Halloran Band featuring the one and only Nancy Kranzberg can be enjoyed from 11am to 3pm while dining off the menu. A festival ticket stub for a Sunday matinee or your Festival Pass will entitle the holder to a complimentary mimosa or house wine.
Other highlights include the festival's first-ever international entry Deseo, a thrilling Spanish-language (with English supertitles) re-interpretation of Williams's most famous play from the perspective of the Cuban experience; The Playwright and the Painter, a remarkable exhibition of acclaimEd Williams' paintings shown only one other time outside of Key West; the debut of the Tennessee Williams New Playwrights Initiative with St. Louis native Jack Ciapciak's Naming the Dog; Grammy-winner Anita Jackson in a bluesy cabaret performance of Bertha in Paradise; and a photo exhibit by New Orleans-based photographer Ride Hamilton. The festival's 19 distinct elements, receiving 54 performances - plays, live music, movies, visual arts exhibits, readings, panel discussions, contests, tours and parties - offers something for all tastes.
Festival and Flex Passes along with Individual Tickets are available now through Metrotix. (Full schedule here). Those interested in volunteer opportunities during the festival are encouraged to sign up here.
The Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis looks forward to building on last year's critical success and exceeding its 2016 attendance of some two thousand. Says Houk, "I'm gratified that Tennessee's hometown is now embracing our own, and America's, greatest playwright. We look forward to continuing to offer theatrical, artistic, and educational programming to the community, and becoming a major destination event."
Please check the festival's Facebook page for updates and announcements.
Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis' mission is to enrich the cultural life of St. Louis by producing an annual theater festival and other artistic and educational events that celebrate the art and influence of Tennessee Williams. Visit Twstl.org for more information.