The Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival ushers in spring with a five day literary event full of theater, dining and wall-to-wall author events. This year is no exception, with humorist Roy Blount, Jr. NPR commentator Amy Dickenson, poet Saaeed Jones (a/k/a @theferocity), playwright John Patrick Shanley, Pulitzer winner Vijay Seshadri and inimitable author John Waters.
From March 25 to 29, guests can soak in master classes, live theater, literary walking tours and more, starting with Tennessee and Toussaint at the Ogden Museum showcasing Williams' watercolors, music by the legendary Allen Toussaint and food by New Orleans' own Chef John Besh.
With the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina looming, the city's recovery and ongoing challenges will be highlighted. Other anniversaries are the 75th year of Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans; and the 175th year of Antoine's Restaurant (as in Dinner at Antoine's), which will host a dining event.
Theater offerings include Brenda Currin in the role of socialite psychopath Violet Venable in Suddenly Last Summer. The NOLA Project theater company will stage a reading of I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark on Sundays, a dark comedy that eventually found its way into Vieux Carré, Williams' full-length play. The Old Ursuline Convent, founded in 1752, with be the site of a spiritual tribute to Tennessee.
And Broadway veteran Joel Vig will play Truman Capote in his one-man show, Truman Talks Tennessee. Capote often said he was born at the Hotel Monteleone where the literary festival takes place, so there's your full circle.
The Festival winds down with the Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest judged from a Jackson Square balcony. It's enough revelry to raise the festival's namesake from the dead if he couldn't already be felt floating around French Quarter courtyards on any given rainy afternoon.
Details are available at: www.tennesseewilliams.net.
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