Who: Bryan Batt, Samantha Beaulieu, Troi Bechet, Curtis Billings, Betty Buckley, Leslie Castay, Michael Cerveris, Patricia Clarkson, Patrick Cragin, Brenda Currin, Lisa D’Amour, Arsène DeLay, Gwendolyne Foxworth, Alison Fraser, Lawrence Henry Gobble, John Goodman, Rodney Hicks, Kenneth Holditch, Corey Johnson, Idella Johnson, Peggy Scott Laborde, Donald Lewis, Ti Martin, Elizabeth McCoy, Jessica Mixon, Whitney Mixon, Wendell Pierce, Francine Segal, Janet Shea, Harry Shearer, Carol Sutton, Beverly Trask, Kathleen Turner, Cassie Worley, Jake Wynne-Wilson
What: Virtual literary celebration of Tennessee Williams and New Orleans
Where: Festival home page
When: Friday, July 31, free (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: The thirty-fourth annual Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival was scheduled to take place March 25-29, with nearly 150 guests honoring the playwright and his adopted hometown, featuring a circus, a writing marathon, craft sessions, live performances, panel discussions, readings, and more. But with the pandemic lockdown, the event has gone virtual; it has been transformed into a one-night online party, “The Kindness of Strangers,” with a prestigious lineup sharing stories about Williams and the festival and performing excerpts from his writings. Though born in Columbus, Missouri, on March 26, 1911, as Thomas Lanier Williams III, and passing away in New York City on February 25, 1983, Williams became closely associated with his adopted hometown of New Orleans during his half-century career, setting many of his plays there, including A Streetcar Named Desire, Suddenly Last Summer, and Vieux Carré. In a statement, TWFest executive director Paul J. Willis called the tribute a “love letter to the festival, to Tennessee Williams, and to all that he loved about New Orleans. It is a testament to the artistic and enduring spirit of this city and our namesake playwright.” Among the participants are Betty Buckley, Michael Cerveris, Patricia Clarkson, Brenda Currin, Alison Fraser, John Goodman, Corey Johnson, Wendell Pierce, Francine Segal, Harry Shearer, and Kathleen Turner. The show goes live July 31 at 8:00 and will be available for viewing through August 14.