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Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis Presents: Life Upon the Wicked Stage – A Collection of One-Acts by Tennessee Williams

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August 10, 1:00 pmOctober 18, 5:00 pm

Curtain Call Lounge
521 North Grand
St. Louis, MO 63103 United States

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Directed by Brian Hohlfield
August 10-18, 2024
Curtain Call Lounge, Grand Center

1:00pm and 3:00pm Saturday and Sunday

Almost 100 years ago, what we now call Grand Center in St. Louis was the place to go for entertainment. Vaudeville was struggling but still popular, double-features (with live acts in between) played all day at the Fox and Missouri theaters, music poured from dance halls and clubs, and the hotels were packed with the touring casts of last year’s Broadway’s hits.

Young Tom Williams soaked it all up.

In celebration of the history and the continuing charm of Grand Center, the Tennessee Williams Festival of St. Louis will present “Life Upon the Wicked Stage,” a program of three one-act plays with music, at the Curtain Call Lounge at the Fox, just steps from the bustling streets and locations where much of the action takes place.

Like the rest of the theatre-going public, Tom was intrigued by what went on backstage, a world he would soon become familiar with, and imagined what the lives of the nomadic show-folk must be like. He brings them to life with affection and bemusement in the one-acts “In Our Profession,” “The Magic Tower,” and “The Fat Man’s Wife,” all set in the 1930s and portraying the ups and downs of a career in show-biz. In these early plays, Williams, still finding his voice, is clearly influenced by the plots and styles of the movies he would have seen on this very street, bringing the experience full circle.

The theatrical but intimate setting of the Curtain Call is perfect for a program about show-biz.

Like a “mini-jukebox musical,” “Life Upon the Wicked Stage” features songs from the period to evoke the era of Vaudeville and the type of entertainment Tom would have encountered in his Grand Avenue outings long long ago..

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