February 10, 2020 – (Key West, FL). Festival Honoring Iconic Playwright Tennessee Williams features series of arts and cultural events and contests
From February 22 to March 30, Key West Art & Historical Society presents the “Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration,” a series of arts and cultural events held at multiple Key West venues to honor the late Pulitzer Prize-winning literary icon and 34-year Key West resident who moved to the island in 1949. In recognition of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the festival’s theme this year is “The Women of Tennessee Williams.” It launches February 22 with the annual plein air painting contest followed by a Distinguished Speaker Series presentation titled “Tennessee Williams in Key West” on February 27 by Tennessee Williams Museum Founder and Curator Dennis Beaver.
The festival kicks off its March events on the 1st with a free curator tour of the Tennessee Williams Museum that focuses on his play “The Glass Menagerie,” followed by a fundraiser at the home of Beaver and Bert Whitt. The fundraiser features an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and entertainment. Subsequent curator tours feature “The Rose Tattoo” and “Williams in Key West” on March 13 and 20, respectively. At the Museum on March 10, Fringe Theater presents “Becoming a Woman,” a free reading of three of Williams’ short stories “Completed” , “27 Wagons Full of Cotton” , and “Das Wasser Ist Kalt” . These pieces were selected to demonstrate his ability to write about women with a sensuality, sexuality, and a complexity that defied the convention of the day.
The festival also celebrates writers with opportunities for creativity and cash prizes via poetry and short-story writing contests, both of which are accepting online submissions now until March 8. On March 26, Williams fans and contest winners can celebrate his birthday at the museum with prosecco, cake, and contest award presentations.
Film enthusiasts will not want to miss the Monday Night Classic Film Series screenings at 6:30pm at the Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton Street: March 2, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” , starring Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Burl Ives; March 9, “Baby Doll” , featuring Oscar nominees Carroll Baker and Mildred Dunnock; March 16, “The Rose Tattoo” , the triple-Academy Award winner partially filmed in Key West starring Anna Magnani and Burt Lancaster; and March 23, “This Property is Condemned” , starring Golden Globe nominee Natalie Wood with Robert Redford and Charles Bronson.
On March 29 and 30 at The Studios of Key West, audiences will get a unique look into Williams’ life in “Talking Tennessee,” a performance by Broadway actor Joel Vig who dons the hat and unique voice of Truman Capote. In this one-act play, commissioned by the Southern Literary Trail, Capote talks about his on-again, off-again friendship with the playwright, including not only their literary discussions but their endless nights of Key West carousing. It will be followed by a presentation by Broadway and film actress Tandy Cronyn, daughter of Oscar-winning Jessica Tandy who originated the Tony-award role of Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and Broadway and film star Hume Cronyn. Cronyn will read some of Tennessee Williams’ provocative poems followed by a conversation about her family and Williams moderated by Stephen Kitsakos, artistic associate of the Tennessee Williams Museum and The Studios of Key West Board President.
For more details and to register for the limited-ticket events, visit kwahs.org/events/tennessee-williams-birthday-celebration. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.
Key West Art & Historical Society presents a series of arts and cultural events celebrating Pulitzer Prize-winning literary icon Tennessee Williams, already underway and running through March 30 at multiple Key West venues. (Photo of Tennessee Williams by Cecil Beaton)
A series of Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration events are set to kick off on February 22 and run through March 30. (Provided photo)