It is hard to be a theatre lover and not be familiar with Tennessee Williams, especially if you are from the Crescent City. Considered as one of the greatest playwrights of 20th-century American drama, Williams not only lived in New Orleans for a period of time, but set many of his successful plays in the city such as A Streetcar Named Desire, Vieux Carre and Suddenly, Last Summer. He considered the city his spiritual home which shone through in writings.
Now, Arcadia Publishing has released Tennessee Williams 101, a concise and entertaining book by Augustin J Correro, M.F.A., who is a theatrical director, producer, and educator based in New Orleans. He is also one of the founders of the Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans, with his partner Nick Shackleford, which for the past six years has produced a wide variety of works by Tennessee Williams, including several world premieres.
After talking about Williams for many years, it was a natural segue for Correro to write Tennessee Williams 101 which was adapted and expanded from his widely successful lecture created for the annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. I absolutely loved this informative and fascinating book that is full of behind-the-curtain tidbits about the world famous playwright along with analyses of characters he created and real-life people he moved among.
Tennessee Williams 101 takes the reader on a chronological journey through the author’s life intertwining both his personal and professional worlds. The book reads like a very fun textbook about Williams infused with Correro’s charm and wit throughout. It also enlightened me on so many aspects of Williams’ life I was oblivious about. I knew he was a prolific writer, but was not aware of his scope–37 full-length plays, 81 short plays, 5 screenplays, numerous works of both poetry and prose, as well as his published letters, personal writings and interviews.
This book has also stoked my interest in Williams beyond just his writings. He led such an amazing life filled with triumphs and defeats that I am now moved to read a biography of him. Not to mention all the incredible people who he befriended and worked with along the way. What was also wonderful about Tennessee Williams 101 is Correro’s fearless exploration of certain topics such as diversity, Williams’ community activism (or lack thereof), and his medical history. I love the fact that Williams was unabashedly gay in his lifestyle which reflected in his works.Tennessee Williams 101 is a book for all, whether you are a die-hard fan or a novice. Williams’ life and career is chronicled in great detail that will leave you wanting to know more. You can find Tennessee Williams 101 at most local bookstores as well on Amazon. If you would like to know more about the Tennessee Williams Theatre Company of New Orleans, go to https://www.twtheatrenola.com/.