February 12, 2020 – (Key West, FL).  Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration begins with two events on March 1

The 2020 Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration, an annual, month-long festival that honors the Pulitzer Prize winner who made Key West his home from 1949 until his death in 1983, begins its March events on Sunday, March 1.  Up first is a 2:00pm curator tour at the Tennessee Williams Museum, located at 513 Truman Avenue, led by Dennis Beaver, followed by a limited-ticket fundraiser hosted by Beaver and Bert Whitt from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.

The museum curator tour marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the 1945 Broadway opening of “The Glass Menagerie,” the memory play featuring characters based on his mother, absent father, and his beloved sister Rose. Beaver will share information about the play, Williams’ relationship with his sister, and her life in the Von Phister Street home he purchased for her. The tour is free to Key West Art & Historical Society members, $5.00 for nonmembers. To register for the limited-ticket tour, visit kwahs.org, click ‘tickets.’

That evening, March 1, from 6:00pm- 8:00pm, Tennessee Williams Museum founders, Dennis Beaver and Bert Whitt, host their annual, limited-ticket fundraiser at their private residence. The soiree features an open bar, delectable hors d’oeuvres, music by DJ Jimmy Jamz Productions, a chance to win show tickets and dinner at an outstanding local restaurant, and gift bags filled with creative treats related to the iconic playwright.  Guests will also enjoy a short excerpt from one of Williams’ legendary plays presented by local actress Diane May. Tickets are for the fundraiser are $100 and can be purchased at kwahs.org, click ‘tickets.’

“All proceeds from the soiree support not only the festival’s programming, but also the continued acquisition of artifacts that tell the story of the great playwright’s thirty-four years of living in Key West,” says Beaver.

Over time, Beaver, a Williams’ aficionado, acquired a significant collection of memorabilia and materials by and about the famed playwright and artist who fortified Key West’s strong literary tradition and solidified the island as a cultural mecca. His collection eventually became an exhibit, and after a merger with Key West Art & Historical Society in 2017, The Tennessee Williams Museum.

Other Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration events include short story, poetry, and plein air painting contests; a Monday Night Classic Film Series at the Tropic Cinema; short story readings at the museum by Fringe Theater; and special theatrical performances at The Studios of Key West featuring Broadway actors Tandy Cronyn and Joel Vig. The Celebration culminates with a March 26 Tennessee Williams birthday party complete with contest award presentations, bubbly beverages, and birthday cake to honor the life and accomplishments of the playwright.

For more details and to register for these and other limited-ticket events, visit kwahs.org/events/tennessee-williams-birthday-celebration, or contact Key West Art & Historical Society at 305-295-6616.  Your Museums.  Your Community.  It takes an Island. 

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Photo of Tennessee Williams by Cecil Beaton.