Al Hirschfeld Chronicles Tennessee Williams in Drawn to Life exhibit

Relive Tennessee Williams' theatrical life in The Historic New Orleans Collection exhibit Drawn to Life. The exhibit showcases dozens of drawings by the iconic Al Hirschfeld chronicling six decades of Williams' productions on and off Broadway. In a fascinating archive of the playwright's career, Hirschfeld brings to life the creative genius of Williams. The exhibit also shares how Williams often drew from his own life to create some of the most dynamic characters in American theater history.

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Upon entering the exhibit take time to study the magnificent family photograph of the young Thomas (Tennessee) Williams, his sister Rose, his brother Dakin, and mother Edwina in a more tranquil time. Learn the tragic events as they unfold in handwritten letters, the abusive father and his sister's eventual lobotomy. Many of Williams' plays derive from his troubled childhood.

The exhibit continues in a montage of Hirschfeld drawings, photographs, programs, playbills, newspaper clippings, and handwritten screenplays by Williams himself. Snippets of Williams' personal life with pictures of he and partner Amado Poncho Rodriquez at Pat O'Briens in the French Quarter, and one of Williams most starch companions and supporters, Frank Merlo, whom he met in 1947. During their relationship Williams produced some of his most prolific work including his Pulitzer Prize winning plays A Street Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

An impressive part of the collection is the historical timeline highlighted by Williams' own voice in personal notes and letters. He shares his failures and frustrations in play reviews and stalls in his career. Quotes and photographs journal his family background and personal surroundings and its effect on his writing. Such as the infamous A Streetcar Name Desire and how he often watched the Desire Streetcar from his window in a French Quarter apartment.

Hirschfeld drawings continue throughout the exhibit detailing Hollywood's versions of Williams' plays. Marlon Brando, Richard Chamberlain, Kathleen Turner and more complete the story. 

Drawn to Life
Al Hirschfeld & the Theater of Tennessee Williams
On view January 11-April 3, 2011

The Historic New Orleans Collection
Williams Research Center
410 Chartres Street
New Orleans, LA

Gallery Hours
Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm
Sunday, April 3, 10:30 am - 4:30 pm

Free Admission