This August, Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis (TWStL), an Arts and Education Council grantee, returns for its seventh year. Theater goers will get to see a production of William’s romantic Sicilian love story “The Rose Tattoo, directed by David Kaplan and performed in The Big Top in the Grand Center Arts District.

“The Rose Tattoo” tells the story of love, death and resilience in a downtrodden but hopeful 1940’s immigrant Sicilian community. Serafina delle Rose clings madly to her Italian identity, to the memory of her murdered husband and to her free-spirited daughter. Will she find love with the banana truck driver? Are all the rose tattoos a sign?  

This St. Louis Rose Tattoo is performed in a circus as a circus, the better to share what Williams called his ‘limitless world of the dream,’” shared director David Kaplan. “Live goats, accordions, impassioned acting, a play that celebrates the wisdom of desire. What's not to like?”

Introducing the theme of an Italian circus, Kaplan’s take on Williams’ classic features aerialists, animals, singers and musicians. He surrounds Serafina with a dozen circus performers – including a ringmaster, a strongman, trapeze artists and clowns – who perform the full text of the play.

This year we celebrate the resilience of love, passion, community, art and the human spirit” said Carrie Houk, TWStL Executive Artistic Director. “How delightful to be moving into the light of 2022 with productions embracing the magnificence of those who ventured from abroad to begin anew. Saluti and avanti!” 

In addition to “The Rose Tattoo”, other festival events will occur in The Hill neighborhood including: “The St. Louis Neighborhood Plays, a series of Williams’ one-acts; thought-provoking panels, hosted by TWStL scholar-in-residence Tom Mitchell; screenings of iconic films based on Williams’ works; walking tours; a pool party and more!  

The full festival itinerary can be found at twstl.org. Tickets will be available in July.

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Want more of Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis? Take a look at the video we produced when they were recognized as the Arts Startup of the Year at the 2019 St. Louis Arts Awards to see the impact they’ve made in the community in just a few short years.