New Orleans Mini Jazz Procession Kicks Off Tennessee Williams Festival At Grandel Theatre

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Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis' production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" opens at 7:30 p.m., this Thursday (May 10), at the Grandel Theatre. Highlights to this year's production include original music composed by St. Louis-based Henry Palkes, a diverse and young cast under the direction of Tim Ocel, a Stella Shouting Contest emceed by Ben Nordstrom, and a New Orleans-style parade on the sidewalk along Grandel Square led by Harvey Lockhart.

"Streetcar" performances are scheduled Thurs. through Sun., May 10-13; and Wed. and Thurs., May 16-17; Sat., May 19. Nordstrom and "Streetcar" cast member Lana Dvorak (Stella) will kick off the Stella Shouting Contest at 6 p.m., immediately following the May 13 performance. The Wed., May 16, performance will be audio described by Mind's Eye Radio for the visually impaired. In addition, there will be no performance on Fri., May 18, as the Festival will join St. Louisans in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the St. Louis Municipal Opera Theatre.

Tickets to the Festival are available at Visit, or call 314-517-5253, for additional event information.

The French Quarter-themed Festival will also include a one-man show titled, "Tennessee Rising"; two panel discussions; and a staged reading, "Interior Panic," an early version of "A Streetcar Named Desire." The staged reading will feature introductory remarks by noted Tennessee Williams scholar Thomas Mitchell. Opening night festivities will kick-off at 6 p.m., on May 10, with a traditional brass band, New Orleans-inspired parade on the sidewalk along Grandel Square led by sax player and educator Harvey Lockhart and the Point of View Jazz Ensemble from Healing Arts Center.

Since its inception three years ago, the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis has embraced the work of the legendary playwright, poet and artist, whose works include multiple Pulitzer Prizes such as "The Glass Menagerie," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Suddenly Last Summer," "Camino Real," and "A Streetcar Named Desire," to name just a few. Williams' work reflects the nearly 20 years his family lived in St. Louis, and his creations range from the famed classics, to adaptations for film and opera, to dozens of newly discovered plays and writings that have been continuously documented, performed and studied around the world. The Festival, founded by St. Louisan Carrie Houk, has attracted thousands to the variety of readings, panel discussions, concerts, art exhibitions, productions and playwright contests that make up the annual event. For more information, please visit, or email

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