Dana Delany to be Guest of Honor at Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival
The gala will be held at Town Hall in Provincetown to support the organization's 12th- annual Festival, which will celebrate Tennessee Williams and William Shakespeare when performances from around the world come to Provincetown from Sept. 21-24, 2017. Per tradition, details of the Festival's full program will be announced at the dinner.
Delany comes to Provincetown following her recent appearance onstage as Maxine, the hotel manager in the 1961 Tennessee Williams play The Night of the Iguana - a role previously played by Bette Davis and Ava Gardner - in a production directed by Michael Wilson at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge in February and March.
In a moderated conversation at the June 3 dinner, Delany will discuss her recent stage work in Boston, and shed light on her entry into the world of Tennessee Williams alongside co-stars James Earl Jones, Amanda Plummer, and Elizabeth Ashley.
Delany's career spans more than thirty years, including leading roles on several hit TV shows including ABC's China Beach from 1988-1991, for which she won two Primetime Emmy Awards. More recently, Delany starred in the ABC dramas Body of Proof and Desperate Housewives, and in films including Light Sleeper, Tombstone, Exit to Eden, Fly Away Home, True Women, and Wide Awake. She is currently starring in season two of Hand of God on Amazon.
Festival Executive Director Jef Hall-Flavin says that Delany is "an accomplished performer and advocate for the arts, and an engaging addition to this year's kick-off celebration," citing Delany's unique and varied career in film, television, and theater since the late 1970s. "We are delighted to welcome her, and we look forward to hearing about her recent work with Tennessee Williams as well as her diverse career bringing memorable and provocative characters to life."
Delany says that Tennessee Williams has always captivated her. "Since childhood, my dream was to play Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," she says. Although her initiation into Williams came later in life, she says she's newly excited by the possibilities: "Now I get to play the older women. Now the juicy stuff really starts."
After finishing the run of Iguana in March, and reading John Lahr's 2014 biography Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, Delany says she is "even more obsessed with Williams" and looks forward to "meeting as many people as I can and learning as much as I can" at the June 3 dinner.
Delany's desire to become an actor began in childhood, when she attended many Broadway shows with her family. Born in New York City, Delany grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. She performed onstage as a student at Phillips Academy in Andover and later majored in theater at Wesleyan University, during which time she honed her craft in summer stock productions.
In the 1980s, before moving to Hollywood, Delany starred in the Broadway show A Life and received critical acclaim in Nicholas Kazan's 1983 off-Broadway production of Blood Moon. She returned to theater in the 2000s, appearing in a production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner With Friends that ran in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, as well as in a 2003 San Diego production of Much Ado About Nothing, in which she played the funny and irascible leading lady Beatrice.
The Hollywood machine pulled Delany in at the age of 22, but she says that "I started in theater, and the older I get, the more I try to do theater." Unlike acting on camera, she adds, "theater uses all of you, and it's a great challenge. It takes 100 percent of your being to do theater, and everything - the text, the energy, the focus, the audience - has to come together quickly on one night. As an actor, that makes a huge difference."
Delany adds that she is especially excited to attend the Dinner for the reveal of this year's Festival line-up of Williams and Shakespeare productions, since she admires how both playwrights created characters who are "at the end of their rope, or on the edge somehow, and they both do it in language that is earthy, human, and poetic at the same time."
Premium seats, general admission tickets, and table sponsorships for the Annual Dinner are available online at twptown.org or by phone at 866-789-TENN.
Festival board members Deborah Bowles and James Mauro will co-chair the event, and the Festival thanks Fleur du Cap wines for their sponsorship of this event.
The 2017 Annual Dinner will also inaugurate a new tradition by awarding the first-ever TENN Award to an individual, group, or organization that advances the spirit of Tennessee Williams through performance, public awareness, study, or publication. The recipient of the TENN Award will be announced in a separate release.
About the 2017 Festival Program
The 2017 Festival program will be announced in full at the Dinner. The line-up will include productions of Williams' work paired with works by Shakespeare, as well as lighter "lagniappe" experiences similar to recent cabaret and late-night Festival events such as last year's Movie Night and Saloon Songs.
This year's theme builds off the success of last year's festival, during which plays by Williams were paired with plays by Eugene O'Neill. In 2017, the experience of Tennessee Williams and Shakespeare side by side in performance, educational programming, and social events will offer Festival audiences a new understanding of both playwrights.
About the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival
The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival was founded in 2006 in Provincetown - the birthplace of modern American theater - where Williams worked on many of his major plays during the 1940s. The TW Festival is the nation's largest performing arts festival dedicated to celebrating and expanding an understanding of the full breadth of the work of America's great playwright. Each year, theater artists from around the globe perform classic and innovative productions to celebrate Williams' enduring influence in the 21st century, hosted by venues throughout the seaside village.
This Festival is funded in part by the Provincetown Tourism Fund, and is presented by Sage Inn & Lounge.