An evening with Tennessee Williams
Written and Preformed by: William Shuman
William Shuman is an actor and playwright. He made his New York stage debut in 1977 as Percy in Charles Dyers’ Rattle of a Simple Man, having first appeared on stage in Boston as the Gentleman Caller in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. He had leading roles in Terrence McNally’s Witness and Charles Dizenzo’s The Last Straw as well as supporting roles in Anouilh’s Antigone and Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano. His film work includes Simon Nuchtern’s horror film Silent Madness, Roger Corman’s Street Walkin’, John Murray’s A Place Called Accident as well as several voices in Maciek Albrecht’s animated film Closer to You. During the 1980s he was seen frequently on the daytime drama “All My Children”.
Since coming to South Florida a little over a year ago, William has appeared in the Dr. Martin Dysart in Peter Shaffer's Equus, as well as the Narrator in a recent production of The Rocky Horror Show both at Andrews Living Arts Studio in Ft. Lauderdale. He has also appeared with his son, Alan Shuman, on the internet TV program “The Asylum”.
William is a founding member of The Abingdon Theatre Company in NYC which has been producing new American plays for nineteen years. They produced his play The Most Important American Playwright Since Tennessee Williams and held readings of several other of his plays including Retirement Tango (recently staged in Rosarito Del Mar, Mexico), Taking Selma’s Car, Seat of Knowledge, and The Hibaku Piano. His original screenplay Practice, Practice, Practice was optioned for production several times, and his episode of “LA Law” was misplaced by its executive producer.
William received a BA degree in English and Economics from Boston University and an MBA from the Wharton School but left the corporate world to pursue a life in the theatre.
I admit freely that I love Tennessee Williams. I’m captivated by his infectious grin, the twinkle in his eye and the poetry in the dialogue of his characters. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth, “En Avant! An Evening with Tennessee Williams,” is my attempt to present in a loosely chronological format the essence of the man; and bring to light the forces that shaped his life and defined his art. It delves into his early childhood, his family dynamic and the struggles that led to his emergence as one of the greatest dramatists of American stage.
I attempt to capture the vulnerability of this self described “wounded man”. I try to show through a series of personal reflections how he managed to climb to the pantheon of the dramatic world. And how success was indeed the catastrophe he described. Performed without intermission, “En Avant!” runs about 75 minutes.
Tennessee Williams (age 54) photographed by Orland Fernandez in 1965
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