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Release: Immediate

University Theatres updates 'Summer and Smoke' with Williams' revision

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The season brochure of University Theatres at the University of Iowa announced a Feb. 5-15 golden anniversary production of "Summer and Smoke" by the UI's most illustrious playwriting alumnus, Tennessee Williams. But instead of the "Summer and Smoke" script that was produced on Broadway 50 years ago, the UI department of theatre arts has now decided to present Williams' preferred revision of the story and characters, a script that he titled "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale."

In his forward to the published script of "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale," Williams wrote: "I wrote (the revision) in Rome one summer and brought it with me to London the fall that 'Summer and Smoke' was about to be produced there. But I arrived with it too late. The original version of the play was already in rehearsal."

"The Eccentricities of a Nightingale" uses the same characters and the same locale as "Summer and Smoke," but Williams wrote, "I think 'The Eccentricities of a Nightingale' is a substantially different play from 'Summer and Smoke,' and I prefer it. It is less conventional and melodramatic."

Williams expressed the hope that the publication of "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale" would lead to a production on Broadway that would confirm his conviction that this "radically different version of the play" was a superior script, but his hope was unfulfilled. But this season, audiences of University Theatres Mainstage will have the opportunity to see the version of the play that Williams preferred.

The production's director, John Cameron, says, "I think Mr. Williams would be thrilled to know that his alma mater is producing 'Nightingale' in honor of the 'Summer and Smoke' anniversary."

University Theatres tickets and subscriptions are available at the Hancher box office. Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.