The Tennessee Williams Festival is an annual rite of spring in New Orleans (©Shawn Fink)
The Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival brings thousands of writers and readers to town March 22-26, as it has each spring for the past 31 years. The annual celebration features festivities throughout the French Quarter, from the Hotel Monteleone to the Historic New Orleans Collection. Notable names on this year’s billing include Pulitzer-winning authors Rick Bragg and Robert Olen Butler and Tony-winning actor Michael Cerveris, among dozens of others.
Sure, there are serious scholarly panels with a bookish bent and lively discussions about "America's greatest playwright," but it’s not as heady as it may sound. Celebrities, including Dick Cavett, Jill St. John and Robert Wagner, will also be on hand, along with humorists Roy Blunt Jr. and Julia Reed. Stagings of Williams’ “Sweet Bird of Youth” and “The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore” are coupled with food and music events and such fest favorites as the improv-driven “By Any Scenes Necessary.” The big fun comes at the festival’s close, when contestants gather in Jackson Square to belt out Marlon Brando’s famous line from “A Streetcar Named Desire” during the "Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest."
Check out the photos below from a recent shouting competition, then stop by Jackson Square March 26 at 4:15 pm to scout for the next Brando yourself!