Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee Williams’

12-3-1947: A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway

Prior to its opening night on Broadway, the Tennessee Williams play had a brief stint at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, but eventually made a home at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City from December 3, 1947 – December 17, 1949. The stage production starred Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski and Jessica Tandy as Blanche DuBois.

In 1978, Susan Snowden Palmer sat down with Tennessee Williams in Atlanta, Georgia during the rehearsal of his play Tiger Tail. The interview was published in issue 1, volume 6 of the New Orleans Review.

In the interview, Williams discusses his experiences with the various adaptations of his plays. The focus of the interview is on Tiger Tail, but he goes into detail about what gets censored in film adaptations versus stage adaptations and how different each individual adaptation is unique. Williams acknowledges that he has no way of knowing whether or not his then-new play will live up to the successes of A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie, but he didn’t seemed too worried.

Read the full article and interview from the Loyola University New Orleans J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library Digital New Orleans Review Collection (pg 31-33) or the New Orleans Review digital archive (pg 28-30).

To see more of the New Orleans Review digital collection check the Monroe Library Special Collections & Archives and to see more from the New Orleans Review, including recent web features and to purchase the most recent issues, go to the New Orleans Review website and Twitter.

Posted by student worker Samantha.

Collection Spotlight: Tennessee Williams Baptism Collection

Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the death of American playwright Tennessee Williams.

Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. After spending his later childhood in St. Louis, Missouri, Williams eventually moved to New Orleans, a city that would inspire much of his writing. Williams wrote notable plays as The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he earned the Pulitzer Prize, and is considered one of the greatest American playwrights of the Twentieth Century.

In 1941, Williams moved to Key West, Florida. After decades of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as struggling with mental illness, William’s brother Dakin came to visit in 1969. Having recently been converted to Catholicism himself, Dakin convinced Williams to meet with a Catholic priest, Father Joseph L. LeRoy, S.J. of St. Mary of the Sea church. Five days later Williams was baptized into the Catholic church, even though he had previously been baptized and raised as an Episcopalian. According to LeRoy, Williams said he believed he had always been a Catholic, in spirit. Williams claimed later to have never taken his conversion seriously.

In the aftermath and publicity, it was determined that since Williams was likely already baptized as an Episcopalian, Father LeRoy had violated guidelines set forth by the Vatican in 1947 which stated, “indiscriminate conditional Baptism . . . cannot be approved” unless “reasonable doubt persists” as to the previous baptism of the person. Father LeRoy was unaware of these guidelines at the time of the baptism and was thus called forth to explain his actions to Church leaders.

Tennessee Williams died on February 25, 1983, in New York City, apparently from an accident resulting from too much drug and alcohol use.

Father Joseph L. LeRoy, S.J. was a member of the New England Province, had been a missionary to Jamaica and was the Reverend at St. Mary, Star of the Sea church in Key West, Florida.

The Tennessee Williams Baptism Collection is available for viewing in Special Collections & Archives Monday-Friday, 9:00-4:30.