New Orleans area calendar for March 11-17, 2016 _lowres

Photo by John B. Barrois -- Irene Glezos and Todd d'Amour star as Lady and Val Xavier in Southern Rep's 'Orpheus Descending.' The play hits the stage this weekend at UNO's Robert E. Nims Theatre.

As an early start to the 2016 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, Southern Rep opens “Orpheus Descending,” a slow-burning, sexually charged drama set in rural Louisiana, March 12 through April 3 at the University of New Orleans’ Robert E. Nims Theatre.

In this play, Valentine Xavier, a mysterious guitar-slinging stranger in a snakeskin jacket, exposes the fiery discord bubbling beneath the surface of a small, conservative town.

“Orpheus Descending” was only a modest success when it opened on Broadway in 1957, but it has continued to find new audiences over the years, from the 1960 film adaptation, “The Fugitive Kind,” starring Marlon Brando, to a 1989 Broadway revival.

Todd d’Amour, who recently appeared on Broadway in “Airline Highway,” plays Valentine Xavier. Also featured onstage are Irene Glezos, Beth Bartley, Brenda Currin, Carl Palmer and Dorian Rush.

The 30th annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival runs March 30 through April 3, with panels, workshops and master classes, but theatrical performances kick off this weekend and continue through next month.