Dennis Beaver is curator of the Tennessee Williams Museum. He has been a resident of Key West since 1979 and has always been fascinated with the history of Key West and the legendary people who have called it home.
Amongst those people was the Pullitzer Prize-winning Tennessee Williams, author of such plays as The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, as well as several other dramatic masterpieces.
Beaver says that while he did not know Tennessee Williams personally, he saw him around town often and was fascinated with the man and his accomplishments and contributions to the city. This interest prompted Beaver to begin his collection of Williams memorabilia and to begin his extensive research into his life and his literary gift to the world.
When Williams’ 100th birthday approached in 2011, Beaver felt something should be done to recognize this internationally known literary giant who had a home in Key West for 34 years. He asked the administration at the Key West Art and Historical Society to help manage the first Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration. It included poetry and plein air painting contests and a birthday reception at Fort West Martello. Well over 100 people participated in these first events. The celebration was the unofficial beginning of the Tennessee Williams Exhibit, now the Tennessee Williams Museum, managed under the auspices of the Key West Art and Historical Society.
This year, in recognition of Williams’ patronage and devotion to the Monroe County Library in Key West, the theme of the birthday celebration will be “The Library.” The celebration will run from March 6 – April 1 at multiple Key West venues.
Admission is free and seating begins at 5:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis with the program starting promptly at 6:00 p.m.