MU Theatre Professor Jim Miller emphasizes happenstance events, moments of inspiration, and intriguing connections as he talks about his work in the theatre—from a revelation while working on a Pepto-Bismol commercial in New York years ago (that he couldn’t “stomach” life as a struggling Broadway actor) to selecting which plays to direct at MU. Now, after twenty-six years of teaching and directing at MU, Miller has not only gathered a large repertoire of these stories, but has also come to believe in the power of such intangible resources as serendipity and instinct in the realm of acting and directing.
Professor Albert Devlin, a natural storyteller, sits back in his chair, crosses his arms, and proceeds to describe the fortuitous events that changed the trajectory of his professional life—that is, when in 1995 the estate of playwright Tennessee Williams placed the collection of his correspondence in the hands of Devlin and Nancy Tischler, professor emerita at Pennsylvania State University, giving them permission to edit these precious materials.
Miller performs eight short pieces of Tennessee Williams letters as edited by Albert Develin, Professor of English. Miller is accompanied by singer and professional actress, Jennifer Gray.
Miller discusses his changes in roles over the years, including his recent role as Tennessee Williams.
MIller talks about how he got involved in the performance of the letters of Tennessee Williams.
Devlin briefly discusses the difference in the writing styles between Williams and Kazan.
Having finished the first two volumes of letters of Tennessee Williams, Devlin discusses how he is now beginning his approach to the collection of letters by Elia Kazan.
Devlin discusses how an accomplished actor such as Sean Leonard can bring the letters of Tennessee Williams to life.
Devlin continues to discuss performances of Tennessee Williams’ letters and how Steve Lawson of New Your City Center scripted and staged them.
Devlin disscusses various performances of his works by actors such as Sean Leonard and Richard Thomas.
Devlin describes the content of The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams. Volume I covers the period from 1920 to 1945 (with the success of The Glass Menagerie), while volume II concerns Williams’ “major period” from 1945 to 1957, during which A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof were introduced.