KEY WEST, Florida Keys — For more than 30 years, internationally renowned playwright Tennessee Williams lived in a modest cottage on a quiet Key West street. The centennial anniversary of Williams’ March 26 birth is currently being celebrated in the island city, with events honoring his literary prowess, passion for painting and enjoyment of the Key West lifestyle.
Williams first visited the island in 1941. In the late 1940s, he purchased the 1431 Duncan St. house that became his home until his death in 1983. In Key West he completed “Summer and Smoke” and wrote “Night of the Iguana,” among other works.
The Academy Award–winning film of Williams’ “The Rose Tattoo” was shot there in 1956, and the island’s Tennessee Williams Theatre opened in 1980 with the world premiere of his play, “Will Mr. Merriweather Return From Memphis?”
Highlights of the centennial celebration include an exhibit focusing on Williams’ Key West life. The free-admission exhibit features photographs of the playwright at home with his partner and friends, original posters of local productions of his plays, books of poetry and drama, playbills and a typewriter Williams used in Key West. The exhibit is open daily at 513 Truman Ave.
Poets are invited to submit Williams-themed poems of 30 lines or less to the celebration’s poetry contest, and artists are to commemorate the playwright’s interest in painting by completing a three-hour challenge to depict his Key West home.
The celebration culminates in a 100th birthday reception set for 5-7 p.m. Sunday, March 27, at Fort East Martello Museum, 3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd. Scheduled attractions include an exhibit of paintings done during the challenge, readings of the winning poems and light refreshments. Admission is $10 per person.
Event information: www.kwahs.com or 305-294-3121
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY