“Tenn” is a musical about the early life of Tennessee Williams, from his years trapped in St. Louis with a family in collapse—a marriage crumbling, and a sister falling into madness—to his formative months living in the Old French Quarter of New Orleans, and the careless summer in California that followed.
These are the apparently aimless years of his youth, when the young Tom seemed to skip town just as soon as he could hock his few belongings or leech a check from his mother. But the forces that drove him across the country were far from random. Tom was seeking his voice, a place in the world as both an artist and a human. In St. Louis both parts of him—the human and the writer—were stultified; in New Orleans he found a muse in the Vieux Carre, and began to find himself as the splendor of the quarter challenged his puritanism and exposed him to a gay life he had never imagined. Additionally, Tom was fleeing madness: he witnessed his sister’s painful descent, and rather than live under the blanket of his mother’s helpless denialism, he ran for the door. In the words of Edwina Williams, “[Tom] wrote to escape madness; his older sister, Rose, was not so fortunate.”
CONTACT THE SHOW at email@example.com