KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Internationally renowned playwright Tennessee Williams, who lived in Key West for more than 30 years, once said of his chosen home, “I work everywhere, but I work best here.” Aficionados of Williams’ classic plays can recall his writing, life and enduring connection to the island city throughout March 2019 during the Tennessee Williams Birthday celebration.
Highlights of the annual festivities are to include film screenings and play performances, contests for writers and artists, a guided tasting of Williams-connected cocktails and tours of the Tennessee Williams Museum at 513 Truman Ave. In addition, a March 27 reception is to mark the 108th anniversary of the late playwright’s March 26 birth.
Williams first visited Key West in 1941. During his subsequent residence there, he completed “Summer and Smoke” and wrote “Night of the Iguana,” among other works. The Academy Award–winning film adaptation of his play, “The Rose Tattoo,” was filmed on the island in 1954.
Key West’s Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St., is remembering Williams by showing one of his films every Monday during March. Films begin at 6:30 p.m. and include “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “The Rose Tattoo,” “Boom!” and “Sweet Bird of Youth.”
Williams fans also can explore the Tennessee Williams Museum that focuses on the playwright’s Key West years. Highlights include personal photographs, first-edition plays and books, video footage and rare memorabilia. Special tours led by museum founder and curator Dennis Beaver are scheduled March 8 and March 22.
At 7 p.m. Friday, March 15, author Philip Greene is to present a tasting of Williams’ favorite cocktails, libations featured in his works and those favored by other literary legends. The sophisticated presentation is scheduled at Key West Theater, 512 Eaton St.
Events honoring Williams also include a March 6 kick-off party, short story and poetry writing contests, a plein air painting challenge that salutes Williams’ passion for painting, a discussion of experimentation and eroticism in his one-act plays, and performances of one-acts “The Kingdom of Earth” and “Lifeboat Drill” at The Studios of Key West, 533 Eaton St.
The March 27 birthday party is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Tennessee Williams Museum. Scheduled attractions include a display of the paintings created during the challenge, readings by literary contest winners and a birthday cake for Williams. Suggested admission is a donation of $10 per person.
Event information and tickets: kwahs.org/events/tennessee-williams-birthday-celebration
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Williams fans also can explore the Tennessee Williams Museum that focuses on the playwright’s Key West years.