Key West to Celebrate Tennessee Williams’ Stage, Film, Artistic Legacies
KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Fans of theatrical drama can celebrate the life and work of Tennessee Williams, award-winning playwright of “The Glass Menagerie,” “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” among others, throughout March on the island he called home for more than three decades.
The Key West Art & Historical Society, operator of the Tennessee Williams Museum at 513 Truman Ave., spearheads the annual Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration. The acclaimed playwright was born March 26, 1911, and helped shape the island’s rich literary culture after taking up residence in 1949.
Festivities begin with a fundraising garden party Sunday, March 5, at the Key West home of Dennis Beaver and Bert Whitt, founders of the exhibit that became the Tennessee Williams Museum.
Also the museum’s curator, Beaver is to host exclusive tours of the facility Friday, March 10, highlighting Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo”; and Friday, March 24, highlighting “The Glass Menagerie.” Museum exhibits include personal photographs, rare memorabilia, a scale model of Williams’ Key West home and other items that chronicle his years on the island.
The celebration’s film component also includes screenings of three Williams films at Key West’s Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St., at 6:30 p.m. on successive Mondays. Scheduled are “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” March 6, “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” March 13 and “This Property is Condemned” March 20.
Moving from film to stage, performances of Williams’ “Suddenly, Last Summer” are to be staged Sunday and Monday, March 12-13, at the Waterfront Playhouse, 407 Wall St. In addition, Fringe Theater is to present readings of some of Williams’ most sensual writings Thursday, March 23, at The Armory, 600 White St.
Other events include a “Happy Hour with the Historian” lecture by Cori Convertito, Ph.D., on the playwright’s life in Key West; poetry and short story competitions for aspiring writers; a painting “boot camp” recalling Williams’ passion for the art; and a guided walking tour of Key West sites associated with him.
The celebration concludes with a “birthday party” at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 26 — the 112th anniversary of Williams’ birth — at the Tennessee Williams Museum.
Event information and ticketing: kwahs.org/education/adult-programs/twbc
Playwright Tennessee Williams first visited the island in 1941 and later bought a home where he lived until his death in 1983.