Wednesday, June 04, 2008

You Ever Meet Tennessee Williams?

Well, neither have I -- I was 14 when he died. But my friend Doric Wilson, one of the original Cafe Cino playwrights and the original founder of the theatre company TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), now going strong for quite a few years as TOSOS II, emailed me about a very special series of performances coming up. Consider going. Nah, just go!

(Doric Wilson—Mark Finley—Barry Childs)

Ethyl Eichelberger Solo Show Project (Jamie Heinlein, director)
4 performances only
Monday – Thursday, June 16-19, 8pm

Everyone Expects Me to Write Another “Streetcar”

the words and works of Tennessee Williams
arranged and performed by Jeremy Lawrence

“Jeremy Lawrence’s uncanny and unsentimental depiction of Tennessee Williams as a playwright and man at the end of his life is thrillingly eerie, on target and life-affirming.”
John Guare

“Jeremy Lawrence inhabits the role of the aging playwright wittily and wondrously. He is wildly funny, authentically moving, and his rapport with the audience is a marvel.”
David Cuthbert, Times-Picayune, New Orleans

“Perfect Tenn….The actor’s presentation of the playwright’s fey Southern cadence and lush phraseology is uncanny, as is the delicate balance of affectation, mischief, and malice.”
Carolyn Clay, The Phoenix, Boston

Produced by Jamie Heinlein
Set decoration: Michael Muccio
Stage Manager: Chester LaRue
Reservations 212 330-7043
Tickets $20

$15 discount tickets for seniors and students with valid ID.
The rate for groups of more than 8 people is also $15 but must be reserved in advance.

Dorothy Strelsin Theatre
Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex
312 W. 36th Street (Between 8th and 9th Ave)

Jeremy Lawrence and Tennessee Williams
In the year of the playwright’s death, the Mark Taper Forum produced a revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In concert with that production the theatre as part of its literary cabaret series produced a three person reading created by then-literary director, William Storm, from the essays collected in Where I Live.

As a result of his work in that piece, Jeremy Lawrence was encouraged to create a one man show for himself. It took some years but the result was Talking Tennessee. Over the past years the show has been performed at a number of venues including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, for two successive years at both the Key West and the New Orleans Tennessee Williams Festivals, at the Kennedy Center and for an extended run in Los Angeles at the Laurelgrove Theatre, where it received an extended run and was named a “Critics Choice” production. The piece was performed at the 2007 Tennessee Williams Tribute in Columbus, Mississippi and led to Mr. Lawrence’s being cast as “The Writer” in Five by Tenn produced at the Kennedy Center and later moving to New York’s Manhattan Theatre Club under the direction of Michael Kahn.

For the 2007 New Orleans Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, Mr. Lawrence appeared in two of the playwright’ s late one-act plays, Travelling Companion and Chalky White Substance directed by David Kaplan as well as in his new one-man piece. Everybody Expects Me to Write Another ”Streetcar” has received performances at the the Cornelia Street CafĂ©, the Eugene O’Neill Playwright’s Conference, the Emelin Theatre, and at the 2008 New Orleans Williams Festival.

This past spring, Lawrence created a twenty minute piece based on Williams’ recently published Notebooks for a book party honoring the book’s publication and its editor Margaret Bradham Thornton, which was reprised at the Spoletto Festival in Charleston, SC on May 30th.

In 1974, Off-Off Broadway veteran playwright Doric Wilson, cabaret star Billy Blackwell and director Peter dell Valle, started New York City’s first professional gay theatre company. It was called The Other Side of Silence-TOSOS for short.

In 2000, twenty-six years later, directors Mark Finley and Barry Childs and playwright Wilson resurrected the company as TOSOS II, dedicating it to an honest and open exploration of the life experience and cultural sensibility of our community and to preserving and promoting our literary past in a determined effort to keep our theatrical heritage alive. Since its return the company has been received numerous awards and rave reviews, and is featured in the permanent theatre display at the Museum of the City of New York. (

The TOSOS II Ethyl Eichelberger Solo Show Project is named for and dedicated to Ethyl Eichelberger (1945-1990) who was a key player in the manic East Village scene of the 1980s. Best remembered today for his high octane solo drag plays and performances, for nearly 20 years Ethyl wrote, produced, staged and starred in a series of 32 madcap and highly idiosyncratic poetic plays based in the lives of great women of history, literature and myth. Under the directorship of Jamie Heinlein, Ethyl Eichelberger opened with Elizabeth Whitney’s Wonder Woman, The Musical and Jeremy Lawrence’s Lavender Songs, a survey of cabaret songs from Berlin’s Weimar Republic which won the 2007 Back Stage Magazine Bistro Award. In April, 2008, the Project presented Jennifer Joy Pawlitschek’s The Physics of Love, directed by Jonathan Warman. Upcoming programs for later this season include Elizabeth Whitney’s A Day Without Sunshine, a musical biography of Anita Bryant, which represented TOSOS II at Saints and Sinners in New Orleans this May and Michael Lynch’s musical autobiography No Fats, No Fems: a World of Exclusions.

Other TOSOS II programs include the Robert Chesley/Jane Chambers Playwright Project, Kathleen Warnock, director; the Billy Blackwell/John Wallowitch Musical Theatre Project, Rick Hinkson, director; and our main productions. To be part of TOSOS II or on our mailing list please contact us: TOSOS II, 506 Ninth Ave, 3FN, NY, NY 10018; 212 563-2218. Email:

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