Birth Name: Thomas Lanier Williams III
Full Name: Tennessee Williams
Place of Birth: Columbus, Mississippi
Birth Date: March 26, 1911
Date of Death: February 25, 1983
Place of Death: New York, NY
- His mother and father were the inspiration for Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and Big Daddy in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Characters like Tom in The Glass Menagerie and Sebastian in Suddenly, Last Summer are thought to be Williams himself.
- His sister Rose, largely considered to be the inspiration for Laura in The Glass Menagerie, was subjected to a lobotomy in 1943 and was institutionalized shortly after. As soon as he was able to, Williams provided for her and a percentage of the profits from his successful productions provided for her care.
- Enrolled at the University of Missouri to study journalism but his father pulled him out after learning that his girlfriend also attended the university. Later graduated from the University of Iowa in 1938 (Home of the legendary Iowa Writers’ Workshop)
- Changed his name at age 28 after moving to New Orleans. Chose Tennessee because that’s where his father was from.
- His first play, Battle of Angels, flopped in Boston. Williams revised it and brought it back as Orpheus Descending (1957). It was later made into the movie The Fugitive Kind (1959), starring Marlon Brando, directed by Sidney Lumet.
- A Streetcar Named Desire earned him his first Pulitzer Prize in 1948. He earned the second Pulitzer in 1955 for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He won a TONY Award for The Rose Tattoo in 1951.
- Eight of Williams’ plays were made into films, including: A Street Car Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, The Rose Tattoo, Orpheus Descending, The Night of the Iguana, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Summer and Smoke.
- Williams left his literary rights to The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. The funds support the University’s creative writing program.
Everyone has a contribution to make, all in the name of keeping things moving, fast and funny.
"I have told the prop people if a prop is right, it’s their laugh," the director says, then offers an example:
"There’s one bit where they come out they have an ax, and the next scene, they come out, and the ax has part of a toilet door attached to it, like they’ve hacked somebody out of the toilet. So the toilet door has to be just right. It has to say ‘Gents,’ or at least part of ‘Gents,’ and have the right kind of details. And all of those details have to make the audience instantly recognize it’s a toilet door. So if the prop isn’t right, it isn’t as funny."
"If you cannot get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you best teach it to dance." - George Bernard Shaw
Let’s go Bucs!
"From the moment I hit that stage, I have an objective, which is to get them to see what we continually do; what I’ve seen over and over again," Mr. Bougere said. "[As The Poet,] I’ve been to all these wars … and it keeps happening. There’s also the language — I’m often seduced by language. I’ve done a lot of classical work, to the point where five years ago I said I want to do something contemporary; I want to be a contemporary black theater guy. And I love classical works — I didn’t feel like, oh, poor me — but this play allows both. I read it and said, ‘How could any actor not want to do this?’ "
Mr. Berger smiled at this. “If I knew you were sitting home asking that question, I wouldn’t have been so worried about whether you’d say yes,” the director said.
An interview with An Iliad star Teagle Bougere and director Jesse Berger in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
An Iliad begins tomorrow.
1974: "The Pittsburgh Public Theater"
Everything old is new again. Take, for example, Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 2014-15 season, which celebrates four decades by opening with the production that started it all, Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie.”
“I wanted to find a way to honor the accomplishment of reaching 40 years, and what better way than to put on a play?” said current producing artistic director Ted Pappas. “Well, the play is eternally beautiful, and ‘The Glass Menagerie had a very successful revival in New York, we’ve never produced it in the O’Reilly. It’s the perfect way to acknowledge the past for those who are seeing it again, and it’s ready for a new generation.”
Forty years ago, the climate for top-notch professional theater in the city appeared to be changing, and to counteract their concern, three lovers of theater — Joan Apt, Margaret Rieck and Ben Shaktman — founded Pittsburgh Public Theater. That first season, which commenced in September 1975, also included Pittsburgh’s Tom Atkins in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” — a year before the film version — and Leonard Nimoy as Malvolio in “Twelfth Night.”
With Pittsburghers embracing the programming mix of classics and premieres, the seasons quickly grew from three productions to the current six.
The Public claimed the North Side as its home back then, in a high-ceilinged space with a flexible thrust stage, The landmark building in Allegheny Square had been erected in 1889 and rescued from demolition in the 1960s, when the community renovated the theater space to include movable scaffold seating. It became the New Hazlett Theater in 1980, named for Theodore L. Hazlett, a civic leader and supporter of the arts.
The Public enjoyed 24 years in the building and brought the thrust-stage style with it when it moved to the brand-new O’Reilly Theater in December 1999. The venue was created just for the company on Penn Avenue in the heart of the Downtown Cultural District and opened with the world premiere of “King Hedley II” by Pittsburgh’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, August Wilson.
Audiences followed the Public from the North Side to Downtown, as the company continued to revitalize classics by the like of Tennessee Williams and Shakespeare and champion works by contemporary writers. Two-time Tony winner Mark Rylance brought the much-ballyhooed “Twelfth Night” to Broadway last year — a production he first brought to the States and the Public stage a decade ago. The company also is known for producing new works, including the pre-Broadway run of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alan Ayckbourn’s “By Jeeves” and the upcoming “L’Hotel,” a world premiere by Ed Dixon.
In the mean time, season No. 39 is still under way. Next up, a work that combines several themes that have emerged over the past 40 years. The play “An Iliad” is a modern retelling of Homer’s tale from Ancient Greece. It’s the Trojan War with Achilles, Hector, Agammemnon and Helen of Troy, all rolled into a solo tour-de-force.
Instagram Takeover - Hannah Shankman
We had the lovely and talented Hannah Shankman (Marta) take over our Instagram account during the run of COMPANY. Check out some of her greatest hits.