Off-Off-Broadway: TENNESSEE RISING: THE DAWN OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS (the cell)

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by Gregory Bernard on May 22, 2021

in Theater-New York

Nancy Manocherian’s the cell theatre hosts the World Premiere of TENNESSEE RISING: THE DAWN OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, a solo play written and performed by Jacob Storms. Directed by Alan Cumming, performances run thru June 27, 2021, at the cell. Performances will be presented open air for a strictly limited audience of 18 with masks and social distancing required.

What led Tennessee Williams to become the most groundbreaking and unique playwright of the twentieth century? TENNESSEE RISING explores the formative six-year period from 1939-1945 in which an unknown writer named Tom metamorphosizes into the acclaimed playwright known as Tennessee. The solo play brings these unknown years center stage as the audience becomes friend and confidant to young Williams as he experiences the unexpected highs and devastating lows of his early career, wherein his most iconic character emerges: himself.

An earlier version of TENNESSEE RISING received the United Solo Award for Best One-Man Show at the 2017 United Solo Festival in New York City and headlined the 2018 Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis. The current version, also directed by Cumming, was slated to premiere in March 2020 at the Beaubourg Theatre in New Orleans but was canceled due to Covid.

Jacob Storms is best known for his recurring role as Serge on Steven Soderbergh & Gregory Jacobs’ Amazon Original Series, Red Oaks. Storms has performed at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Concert Hall, The Guggenheim Museum, NY LIVE ARTS, BAM, St. Louis Tennessee Williams Festival, The Hollywood Bowl, Disney Concert Hall & Club Cumming.

Alan Cumming has been described by Time Magazine as one of the most fun people in show business, by the New York Times as a “bawdy, countercultural sprite,” and by the Guardian as “European, weird, and sexually ambiguous.” He has won over forty awards for his humanitarianism and social activism, received both the Great Scot and Icon of Scotland awards from his homeland and was made an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) for his contributions to the arts and LBGT equality by the Queen, whose portrait was taken down when his was unveiled at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2014. Alan Cumming is many things to many people — renaissance man, style icon, social activist, bon viveur — but to himself, he is a story-teller and provocateur for hire. He lives in New York City with his husband, illustrator Grant Shaffer, and their dogs, Jerry and Lala. For more info visit Alancumming.com. Follow him on Twitter @alancumming or on Instagram @alancummingsnaps.

photo by Ride Hamilton

TENNESSEE RISING: THE DAWN OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS
Sundays, June 6-27 at 7pm | 70 minutes
the cell theatre, 338 West 23rd Street
for tickets ($20), visit Spin Cycle

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