Tennessee Williams

Scribes and songsmiths

A traveling-salesman father, a puritanical mother and a mentally disturbed sister informed Williams’ best plays, from “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” to “Summer and Smoke” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Williams employed elegant poetry to express the extremes of human behavior. Blanche de Bois’ “Whoever you are – I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers” from “Streetcar” is the most quoted line in all American theater. Williams died in 1983 but his neglected later works, especially “Small Craft Warnings,” have been revived with increasing frequency.

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