by Brian Jones
Brenda Carradine spoke to the Columbus Exchange Club March 3 about the upcoming 100th anniversary of the birth of Tennessee Williams.
A celebration of Williams’s life will be held March 24-27.
“I moved here 17 years ago,” Carradine said. “That was the year some concerned people in Columbus realized that the old house by St. Paul’s was going to be not used anymore. It had been the business office for the church. When tourists would come to town, they would come over there and ask about Tennessee Williams and the church secretary would say, ‘Yes, this was his house.’ There was a historic marker there, and that was all that was done.
“The Chamber of Commerce under Morris Denton – a man I had words with from time to time – got the Williams home bought and moved to the corner at 200 Main Street,” Carradine said. “People come through that welcome center from all over the world. They come from Germany, Russia, France. They come to my front door and they want to talk about Tennessee Williams.”
“This March 24-27 we’re going to have a big party for his 100th birthday,” she said.
The festivities start at 11 a.m. on March 24 with lunch and a play. Lunch at Front Door/Back Door, 400 Main Street, will be followed by a performance of “Strangest Kind of Romance” at 12:30 p.m. at the Omnova Theater in the Rosenzweig Arts Center, 501 Main Street. Tickets are $15 or $10 for students and may be purchased at the Columbus Arts Council. The play will be performed again at 7:30 p.m.; tickets for that showing are $7.50.
At 8 p.m. on March 24 there will be a big band concert at the Trotter Convention Center. Tickets are $10 per person or $5 for balcony seating; a table for 10 may be reserved for $100.
On March 26 an open house will be held at the Tennessee Williams Home from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
A viewing of Williams’s last screenplay, “Loss of a Teardrop Diamond”, will be held at Cinema 8, 2320 Highway 45 North, at 11 a.m. A question-and-answer session will be held afterward with director Jodie Markell. Tickets are $5.
Two historic markers will be unveiled at 2 p.m. The first is at Trustmark Bank, 624 Main Street, which was the location of Columbus Hospital, where Williams was born; the second is at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 318 College Street, the original site of the Williams Home.
The Spring Fund-raising Gala and Auction will be held at the Rosenzweig Arts Center at 7 p.m. For ticket information, contact the Columbus Arts Council at 662-328-ARTS.
The celebration will end March 27 with the scholars seminar and costume display at 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. It is sponsored by the Mississippi University for Women and the Southern Literary Trail, and is free.