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Tennessee Williams
Produced by The Kitchen Sisters™ (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) with Sandra Wong

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    Tennessee Williams and Pancho Rodriquez. New Orleans, 1946.
    Photo credit: Photographer Unknown,
    Courtesy of Virgina Spencer Carr
    On a recent expedition to the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at The New York Public Library, Lost & Found Sound™ series producers, Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson, The Kitchen Sisters, asked chief curator, Donald McCormick what treasures were hidden in their collection.

    A home recording of Angela Lansbury's audition with Jerry Herman for the role of Mame was high on Mr. McCormick's list. But at the top was a series of donated discs that have never been heard by the public - made by writer Tennessee Williams at a Penny Arcade in New Orleans in 1947 or 1948. Nobody is quite sure which year it is.

    The Kitchen Sisters were as taken with the cardboard recordings as McCormick. And went on a quest to bring them to air. They traced the broadcast rights to a lawyer in London, who led them to The University of the South at Sewanee and then to the doorsteps of writer Donald Windham. He and Sandy Campbell, old friends of Tennessee Williams, had found the discs in a trunk of his things left behind from all the years he had come and gone from their apartment.

    The trail led them to the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans, where Williams lived during the time these cardboards were cut. The weekend of May 28th marks the 51st anniversary of the last run of one of New Orleans most legendary streetcars, the one that ran by Tennessee's door as he worked on a play called "The Poker Night" - a play he came to call "A Streetcar Named Desire".

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    Copyright 1999 The Kitchen Sisters