The play Tennessee in the Summer is based on the life of Tennessee Williams. Starring as the prolific playwright is Jack Heller, who has an impressive background on stage, and has appeared on screen in Henry Jaglom’s Queen of the Lot, plus in the play, Just 45 Minutes from Broadway, which will be released as a film later this summer. As a teenager walking up Broadway, Heller actually met Tennessee Williams. It was an inspiring moment in his life, which is why it’s so fascinating for Heller to play Williams now.
“I find his characters so colorful, and I remember a line in A Streetcar Named Desire, ‘The one thing in life I cannot abide is deliberate cruelty.’ With that line, I determined him to be a compassionate man. Yet researching I learned that he could be quite cruel, because of his fears, plus a great deal of guilt due to family turmoil,” Heller says. All of that will be revealed in the riveting show. And Heller points out that “90 per cent of the dialog is based on actual quotes from Williams.”
“He is the American poet of the theater, writing in such a lyrical way;” that is what Heller hopes the audiences will remember about the play. “Along with the thought that no matter how talented a person is, addiction and fear can destroy their creativity.”
The show is directed by Sal Romeo and written by Joe Besecker, also starring Tamara Braun, Louise Davis, Robert Standley and Lisa Thayer. At the Sidewalk Studio Theatre located at 4150 Riverside Dr. in Burbank. It runs April 13 to May 20, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20; call 800-838-3006, or online at www.brownpapertickets.com.