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Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration to Run Throughout March in Key West

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — In Tennessee Williams' classic play "A Streetcar Named Desire," the character Blanche DuBois exclaims, "I don't want realism. I want magic!" Williams' fans can explore the magic behind the iconic playwright's work during Key West's annual Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration, set to begin Feb. 28 on the island Williams called home.

The 106th anniversary of Williams' birth falls on March 26. The famous playwright had close ties with the Key West community, first visiting the island in 1941 and subsequently buying a home where he lived until his death in 1983.

Each year the founders of the Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit, located at 513 Truman Ave., celebrate the playwright's birthday with several weeks of events including readings of his poetry, theatrical presentations, a film forum and showings of films based on his screenplays.

Also scheduled are plein-air painting, poetry and short story writing contests themed to commemorate Williams' screenwriting talent. For links to entry information and guidelines, visit twkw.org/events.html.

Celebration highlights include guided Key West exhibit tours and presentations March 10 and 12 by co-founder and curator Dennis Beaver on the Key West filming of Williams' "The Rose Tattoo."

Theater aficionados can view a video capturing a 2014 theatrical examination of the playwright's relationship with his beloved sister Rose. In addition, Fringe Theater is to stage a production of "The Glass Menagerie" with performances March 16-18 and 23-25.

"Tennessee Williams: His Words in Letters" is set for March 19. The theatrical evening provides insights into his emotional and artistic demons and the great love of his life.

On March 26 a birthday reception is scheduled at the Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit with hors d'oeuvres, wine and birthday cake. Awards will be presented to the winners of the painting, short story and poetry competitions and their works will be honored in displays and readings.

Designed to spark the magic that Williams captured in his writing, the celebration also features an exhibit of paintings created by contest entrants that continues through April 14.

Event information and schedule: twkw.org

Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY

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The famous playwright had close ties with the Key West community, first visiting the island in 1941.

The famous playwright had close ties with the Key West community, first visiting the island in 1941.

Celebrate the playwright's birthday with several weeks of events including readings of his poetry, theatrical presentations, a film forum and showings of films based on his screenplays.

Celebrate the playwright's birthday with several weeks of events including readings of his poetry, theatrical presentations, a film forum and showings of films based on his screenplays.