En Avant! An Evening with Tennessee Williams

  • Theater
  • Drama
Critics' pick
Photograph: Ron Sharpe
En Avant! An Evening with Tennessee Williams
Sit down and get comfortable as you listen to the life story of Tennessee Williams, delivered as a delightful front-porch chat that any Williams fan will appreciate. Writer-performer William Shuman has distilled Williams’s private journals into an illuminating solo piece that spans the late playwright’s whole career and touches on his struggles with alcoholism, drugs, depression and his own homosexuality. The show is peppered with beautiful quotations and interesting trivia. (One highlight is hearing a plethora of alternate titles for his works; Williams had a habit of changing them numerous times.) Shuman’s performance is somewhat uneven—at times he seems perfectly authentic, at times self-consciously theatrical—and the repeated use of the French phrase en avant! (“onward!”) for transitions is not always effective. But the soft-spoken Shuman is endlessly endearing, and tugs at your heartstrings in his intimate rapport with the audience. You leave with a warm impression of Williams and a head full of his stunning language.—Madeline Raynor
Event phone: 212-362-2590
Event website: http://stage72.com
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