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New Play BLACK BUTTERFLIES to Examine Life of Tennessee Williams' Sister in Off-Broadway Reading

BLACK BUTTERFLIES, a ground-breaking new play by Marylou DiPietro, based on the life of Rose Williams, sister and muse to Tennessee Williams, will be presented in a reading December 7th, 3pm at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd Street (4th floor), New York City.

"BLACK BUTTERFLIES, is truthful, deep, beautifully written and worthy of its subject. The characters come alive, the scenes are beautifully selected and dramatized, the final push of the play, toward the catastrophe, is genuinely frightening." -- Austin Pendleton

Rose Williams was creative, beautiful, talented and the envy of her younger brother, Tom (Tennessee). Both children were deeply traumatized by their pious, vain, and narcissistic mother and their tyrannical and brutally insensitive father. Throughout her childhood, Rose tried to protect Tom, a sickly, effeminate boy, from their father's cruelty.

"I was immediately drawn in by Marylou DiPietro's intriguing, poetic play about the enigmatic Rose Williams. Not until my involvement with BLACK BUTTERFLIES did I learn that, contrary to popular belief, it wasn't as much the shy, 'crippled' Laura Wingfield who was modeled after Rose Williams as it was the beautiful, tragic, Blanche in A Street Car Named Desire. In BLACK BUTTERFLIES Rose tells the true story for the first time of what happened in her childhood home and why her parents wanted so desperately to 'cut out the truth.'" -- Nat Warren-White, director of the December 7th Reading of BLACK BUTTERFLIES.

BLACK BUTTERFLIES explores Rose's and Tom's lives, and illuminates their relationships with their parents and each other. Tom would find an escape from this gravely dysfunctional family. Rose, however, desperately tried to maintain her autonomy, but gradually descended into a state of "black butterflies," or intractable melancholy and despair. Eventually she would spiral out of control, causing her parents to "break the chain of memory" and "release her black butterflies" by insisting she be given a prefrontal lobotomy. Her family members joined together in covering up their misdeeds. The failure to protect Rose and the misrepresentations about her downfall caused Tennessee's terrible, lifelong guilt. BLACK BUTTERFLIES explores Rose's mysterious "defect" and exposes her fascinating, compelling story.

Buzz McLaughlin (, the Founding Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey (, and author of The Playwrights Process calls BLACK BUTTERFLIES "A theatrically imaginative and dramatically rich play that peels off the layers and exposes the close and tragic relationship of Tennessee Williams and his sister Rose."

In addition to BLACK BUTTERFLIES, Marylou DiPietro's plays include Cold Water Flat (winner of the Emerson College Theater Festival and produced at the Loft Theater in Boston), and Sugar (winner in the Kennedy Center Playwrights' Festival and produced at Brandeis University). Her poetry, fiction and non-fiction have been published in numerous literary magazines and her multimedia collaborative project, "Snow on the Brain, Living with Multiple Sclerosis" had its world premiere at the Open Door Gallery in Boston (

Marylou DiPietro has her BA in creative writing from Syracuse University and MA in theater education from Emerson College. She studied acting at HB Studio in NYC with Carol Rosenfeld. She lives with her husband in New Hampshire, where she splits her time between writing, painting and working as a child advocate.

The December 7th reading of BLACK BUTTERFLIES is directed by Nat Warren-White and features Joel Bernstein, Lisa Bostnar, Jim Broaddus, James Cochran, Alexander Cook, Ben Diskant, Jesse Lehman and Ruby Rees.



Monday, December 7th - 3:00pm.

There will be a talkback and reception immediately following the reading.

The Peter Jay Sharp Theater

416 West 42nd Street (between 9th & 10th Avenues), 4th Floor, New York, New York

The theater is handicap accessible.

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