Posts Tagged ‘Strange Mountain’
2011 is a banner year for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, which celebrates its 25th anniversary, March 23-27, overlapping with its eponymous playwright’s 100th birthday on March 26. The five-day fete honors the legendary Tennessee Williams, his works, and literary life in the adopted city he called his “spiritual home” and features two days of master classes; a roster of lively discussions among distinguished panelists; celebrity interviews; theater, food and music events; a scholars’ conference; comedy improv and a poetry slam; an erotica reading; short fiction, poetry and one-act play competitions; a breakfast book club; French Quarter literary walking tours; a book fair; special evening events and parties; and even a shouting contest.
The lofty list of participants includes Carroll Baker, Academy Award nominee for her provocative performance in Williams’ controversial 1956 black comedy Baby Doll; Shirley Knight, Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actress in Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth and star of his one-act play A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur at the Hudson Guild Theatre in 1979; and Zoe Caldwell, who won one of her four Tony Awards for her role in Williams’ Slapstick Tragedy in 1966. Harriet Harris, popular stage and screen star (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Frasier), who played Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie at the Guthrie Theater, and New Orleans native Grace Zabriskie, who just released her first collection of poetry, yet is best known for her roles in many popular films and television series (Twin Peaks; HBO’s Big Love), round out the grand group of leading ladies.
Literary luminaries include Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler (A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain), who will judge the Festival’s 2011 short fiction contest; critically acclaimed author Winston Groom (Forrest Gump; Vicksburg, 1963); Armistead Maupin whose new Tales of the City novel, Mary Ann in the Autumn, debuted in November; Jason Berry, author, reporter and film director (Vows of Silence); Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque; film critic and raconteur Rex Reed; syndicated advice columnist and author Amy Dickinson; best-selling mystery writers John Connolly, Laura Lippman and Nevada Barr; National Book Award finalists Dorothy Allison and Susan Straight; Bryan Batt, widely known as Salvatore Romano in AMC’s Mad Men, whose “momoir” She Ain’t Heavy, She’s My Mother details his childhood growing up in New Orleans; and — almost a category all by himself — inimitable filmmaker, writer and artist John Waters, who delighted audiences at the 2007 Festival.
Theater highlights include “Bright, Beautiful Things: A World Premiere of Tennessee Williams One-Acts.” Hosted by Zoe Caldwell, this special evening presentation, produced by Southern Repertory Theatre, kicks off the Festival and includes The Pretty Trap (a comedy that later developed into The Glass Menagerie), The Magic Tower and Every Twenty Minutes. The following night, “Remembering Tennessee,” the Festival’s Gala celebration, features readings and reminiscences by Baker, Caldwell and Knight. Rex Reed will lead the discussion.
For ticket prices and more information, check the official website.
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