In Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Blanche DuBois asks: “Don’t you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn’t just an hour, but a little piece of eternity dropped in our hands — and who knows what to do with it?”

For almost three decades, the organizers of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival have known exactly what to do with those hours. They’ve filled them honoring the beloved playwright with a myriad of activities, stellar performances and more. And they are ready to do it all again. The 29th annual festival runs from March 25-29.

From its humble beginnings in 1986, the festival has expanded into a five-day event featuring a wealth of theatrical offerings: celebrity interviews; a roster of lively discussions among distinguished panelists; two days of master classes; a scholars’ conference; short fiction, poetry and one-act play competitions; food and music events; a breakfast book club; French Quarter literary walking tours and a book fair.

This year the festival offers five days of theater with 11 productions at eight different venues. Here are some of the performances you might want to put on your calendar.

‘Suddenly Last Summer’

Tennessee Williams’ classic play set in New Orleans will be presented in partnership with Southern Rep and will star Brenda Currin as Violet Venable, the cruel and dominating society matron. The play is directed by Southern Rep Theatre’s producing artistic director, Aimée Hayes, and also features Beth Bartley, Carol Sutton and others.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday,

March 25 to Saturday,

March 28.

3 p.m. Matinee performances

Saturday, March, 28, and

Sunday, March 29

WHERE: Ashé Powerhouse


1731 Baronne Street.


INFO: (504) 522.6545 or

‘The Hotel Plays’

These plays are co-produced with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival and will be an adventure in environmental theater: The plays will be performed at the historic Hermann-Grima House and the action moves from room to room. The quartet of plays are set in hotels and boarding house and will feature New Orleans actors Desiree Ledet, Kathryn Talbot and Francesca McKenzie. David Kaplan directs.

WHEN: 3:30 p.m. Thursday,

March 26

11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday,

March 27

12:30 p.m. Saturday,

March 28

1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 29

WHERE: Hermann-Grima


820 St. Louis St.


Literary Late Night: ‘By Any Scenes Necessary: A Streetcar Named Desire’

Led by Cecile LeMoyne, NOLA Project will present a theatre/improv hybrid, “By Any Scenes Necessary.” This will be a fast-paced improv where actors recreate Williams’ classic drama A Streetcar Named Desire without a script and with suggestions from the audience.

WHEN: 10:30 p.m. Friday,

March 27

WHERE: Cafe Istanbul

2372 St. Claude Avenue


Williams Birthday Bash

Tennessee would have celebrated his 104th birthday on March 26. Marking this milestone, the festival presents an evening of performances by actors, including Keir Dullea, who played Brick in the 1974 Broadway revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and Tony Award nominee Mia Dillon. They will reprise their recent tour-de-force performances as Big Daddy and Big Mama. Among the other talented actors sharing the stage to perform scenes and monologues will be festival favorite, Janet Daley Duval, Southern Rep’s artistic director Aimée Hayes, and New Orleans’ own “Mad Men” star, Bryan Batt.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Thursday,

March 26

WHERE: Hotel Monteleone,

Queen Anne Ballroom

214 Royal St.


‘Blue Devils And Better Angels’: Tennessee Williams Tribute Reading

This year, the Old Ursuline Convent will be the backdrop for the annual Tennessee Williams tribute reading. These readings are comprised of scenes, monologues, poetry, and correspondence of Williams. Readers include cult filmmaker John Waters; playwright Martin Sherman; veteran stage and screen actors Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon; and John Patrick Shanley, who will read excerpts from his Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Doubt.” The event is hosted by Thomas Keith, who recently served as a dramaturge at the Sundance Theater Institute.

WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Friday,

March 27

WHERE: The Old Ursuline


1112 Chartres St.


‘I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark on Sundays’

This one-act play has fragments that would evolve into Williams’ play “Vieux Carré.” Award-winning director Beau Bratcher directs this staged reading starring members of the NOLA Project ensemble. Keith will provide an introduction to the reading with context about the genesis and later incarnations of this one-act.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday,

March 28

WHERE: Hotel Monteleone,

Queen Anne Ballroom

214 Royal St.


‘Truman Talks Tennessee’

Joel Vig, best known for his work in the Off-Broadway cult classic “Ruthless” returns to the New Orleans Tennessee Williams in the premiere of this one-man show. Vig plays Truman Capote near the end of his life as he recalls his treasured friendship with Tennessee Williams.

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday,

March 29

WHERE: Hotel Monteleone, La

Nouvelle Ballroom

214 Royal Street


Stanley And Stella Shouting Contest

Contestants vie to rival Stanley Kowalski’s shout for “STELLAAAAA!!!!” in the unforgettable scene from “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Women are welcome to try a little role reversal and yell for Stanley.

WHEN: 4:15 p.m. on Sunday,

March 29

WHERE: Jackson Square

TICKETS: Free and open to the


To find all the theater performances, art exhibits, walking tours, discussions and fun, call 504-581-1144 or 800-990-3378 or visit