See “The Glass Menagerie” where it was first imagined by Tennessee Williams
22 July, 2021
Next month, the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, a PNC Program Grantee, will return for its sixth year with “The Glass Menagerie”. Not only is the play one of Williams’ most celebrated works, but it will be performed in the Central West End building where Williams lived and where the play was imagined.
Carrie Houk, the festival’s Executive Artistic Director shared, “In 2020 we were lucky enough to flourish on the radio during a year that was so challenging for live theatre. In 2021, we return with a vengeance with a site-specific production of “The Glass Menagerie” at the very building in the Central West End where the Williams family settled when they moved to St Louis.”
Williams moved to St. Louis at age seven, when his father was made an executive at the International Shoe Company (where the City Museum and the Last Hotel are now located). He lived here for more than two decades, attending Washington University, working at the International Shoe Company and producing his first plays at local theaters. When asked later in life when he had left St. Louis, he replied, “I never really left.”
Brian Hohlfeld, director of “The Glass Menagerie” said, “There’s no other city in the world where you can see this play in this venue, amid the same red bricks, alleys and fire-escapes that inspired Williams to write it almost 80 years ago.”
The festival will also present “You Lied to Me about Centralia” by John Guare. Before Williams wrote “The Glass Menagerie”, he told the story of the dysfunctional St. Louis family in his short story, “Portrait of a Girl in Glass”. Picking up where both the short story and “The Glass Menagerie” end, Guare’s adaptation imagines the story that follows, after the gentleman caller leaves the Wingfield home to meet his fiancée at the train station.
Other festival programming includes Scholars’ Panels, a Walking Tour of Williams’ St. Louis, Tennessee Williams Tribute: “The Moon and Beyond” hosted by Ken Page, a happy hour conversation with “Blue Song” author Dr. Henry Schvey, a reading of “Why Did Desdemona Love the Moor” and more.
The 2021 Tennessee Williams Festival takes place August 19-29. The full festival itinerary can be found at twstl.org. Tickets can be purchased here. Additionally, for fans who want to make an evening of it, a Garden Picnic will be available at Bowood by Niche (4605 Olive, 63108) on performance days from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Food and drink can be enjoyed in Bowood’s garden up until performance time.
Eleven organizations including Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis have been awarded a total of $40,000 in PNC Program Grant funding to help strengthen the region’s arts community. PNC Program Grants – underwritten by the PNC Foundation – provide funding for arts and arts education programs that address community needs. Thank you PNC Foundation for your support!