ST. LOUIS — The Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis (TWStL) is moving to the airwaves this year.
The festival centers on Williams’ most famous and personal play, “The Glass Menagerie,” featuring works that illuminate the artistry of the St. Louis-based masterpiece,
“The theme of this Festival – En Avant! – was Williams’ signature phrase. Always moving onward, he found strength through fragility,” said Executive Artistic Director Carrie Houk. “We see this same forward-looking mindset all around us as we look beyond today’s challenges towards the chance to benefit from the lessons. ‘En Avant!’ captures the essence of our programming and also what we have experienced since the world changed in March.”
The key elements of the eleven-day festival will air multiple times on Classic 107.3, and all will be streamed for two weeks on both TWStL.org and Classic1073.org. Each performance will be followed by expert commentary from noted Williams scholars.
The Festival’s three main performances will be:
- The Glass Menagerie – Williams’ greatest, most famous, and most personal play. The narrator recalls late in life how his youthful devotion to his sister Rose (Laura in the play) conflicted with his creative passions as he was about to escape from St. Louis for good. Directed by Brian Hohlfeld. Starring Brenda Currin, Bradley James Tejeda, Elizabeth Teeter and Chaunery Kingsford.
- You Lied to Me about Centralia, by John Guare – Picks up the story of Jim, the Gentleman Caller, immediately after he leaves the Wingfield home to meet Betty, his fiancée. It further illuminates the themes of “The Glass Menagerie,” leaving us to ponder how a step or two in another direction might have changed everyone’s lives. Directed by Rayme Cornell. Starring Chauncy Thomas and Julia Crump.
- Glass by Michael Aman – Takes us forward in time to when “The Glass Menagerie” is about to open in Chicago, on the way to Broadway. In this multi-layered one-act play, the budding playwright meets the lead actress before she goes on. Williams, having spurned his mother, wants to be famous. She, broken by addiction, is about to portray his own mother’s character and wants to be famous again. Can this premiere possibly succeed? Directed by Gary Wayne Barker. Starring Bradley James Tejeda and Kari Ely.
Other programming includes two different one-man performances by acclaimed Williams actor Jeremy Lawrence: Tom and Rose and The Man in the Overstuffed Chair. They are drawn from the words and works of Williams and dramatize Williams’ relationships with both his sister and his father during his years in St. Louis.
There will also be a Scholars Conference curated by Tom Mitchell (TWStL Scholar-In-Residence), featuring conversations with Houk, Annette Saddick (Professor of Theatre at CUNY), Henry Schvey (Professor of Drama at Washington University), Thomas Keith (Williams editor for New Directions Publishing), with others TBA.
Lead sponsorship of the festival is provided by Emerson. “The Glass Menagerie” is performed by special arrangement with Concord Publishing, Inc and “You Lied to Me About Centralia” is performed by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.
The full Festival schedule and additional information can be found at https://www.twstl.org.