2011 marks the centenary of American playwright and MU alumnus Tennessee Williams’ birth, and the MU Libraries is joining an extensive nationwide celebration of his life and legacy with “Tennessee Williams: The Art of Endurance.” The three-day celebration kicks off on Friday, March 18, with an onstage conversation with multiple Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee (A Delicate Balance, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), who will discuss Williams’ influence on his own work. Saturday’s programming features a roster of lively discussions examining Williams’ legacy; a reception in Ellis Library’s Grand Reading Room; and an onstage conversation with Tony Award-winning actress Elizabeth Ashley, who, in a career spanning more than 50 years, has defined many of Williams’ finest female roles. The celebration will conclude on Sunday with an acting master class; a concert reading of Williams’ early works; and the world premiere of Tennessee Williams: Lightning in a Bottle by the Missouri Contemporary Ballet.
Joining Mr. Albee and Ms. Ashley is an illustrious list of participants including Thomas Keith, editor at New Directions Publishing who has been involved in the preparation of 19 Tennessee Williams titles at New Directions; Felicia Londré, Curators’ Professor of Theatre at UMKC; Tom Mitchell, Interim Head of Theatre at the University of Illinois; W. Douglas Powers, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre at Susquehanna University; Larry Clark, Emeritus Professor of Theatre at MU; David Crespy, Associate Professor of Theatre at MU; and Cheryl Black, Associate Professor of Theatre at MU.
All events take place on the MU campus. All events, with the exception of TennesseeWilliams: Lightning in a Bottle, are free and open to the public. Tickets for the ballet are available online at www.concertseries.org, in person at 409 Jesse Hall (Mon-Fri, 8:00-5:00), or by calling 573-882-3781 or 1-800-292-9136.
“Tennessee Williams: The Art of Endurance” is funded, in part, by the MU Libraries, the Center for Arts and Humanities, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program, the Friends of the MU Libraries, and the Missouri Humanities Council.