Kathleen Turner is Guest of Honor at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival

June 1st in P-Town
Golden Globe Winner and Tony and Academy Award Nominee Kathleen Turner (Courtesy photo)

(Provincetown, MA) The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival is pleased to announce that Kathleen Turner, a living legend of the stage and screen, will be the guest of honor at this year’s Performance Gala, the festival’s annual fundraising dinner.

The Gala will be held at Town Hall (260 Commercial Street) in Provincetown on Saturday, June 1, 2019. The gala supports the 14th annual Festival, which honors Tennessee Williams through performance of his plays and those of his peers.

Turner has crafted unforgettable performances in movies like Body Heat, Romancing the Stone, and Serial Mom, as well as in television and on stages around the world. She received a Tony Award nomination in 1990 for her performance as Maggie in the Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She received a second Tony nomination and an Evening Standard Award for her 2005 performance as Martha in the Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

She is the co-author of Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles (with Gloria Feldt, 2008) and Kathleen Turner on Acting: Conversations About Film, Television, and Theater (with Dustin Morrow, 2018). Turner has won Golden Globe for Best Actress twice, for Romancing the Stone(1984), and Prizzi's Honor (1985), and has been nominated for a Golden Globe three other times.

At the Gala on June 1 she will discuss her life and career as an actor and director in film and on stage.

“The Gala audience is in for a treat: the bone-shaking sound of Turner’s voice for sure, but even more listening to what her great voice advocates,” says Festival Curator David Kaplan.

In Turner’s new book, Kaplan says, “she writes about the preparations to create her smart, steamy performance of Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway. She found humor and love necessary to play the role, and discovered the fun of performing Maggie despite the challenges of the text. She has sharp insights, too, about the role of Martha in Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which she played for hundreds of performances in London, New York, and on tour.”

General admission tickets to the Performance Gala, as well as premium seats and table sponsorships, are now on sale at twptown.org and by phone at 866-789-TENN.

Details of the Festival’s 2019 program will be announced in full at the Gala on June 1.

About Kathleen Turner

A Broadway veteran, bona fide film star, and accomplished acting teacher, Kathleen Turner has been nominated twice for the Tony Award, for her performance as Maggie in the 1990 revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and as Martha in the 2005 revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Beloved for her roles in classic films like Body Heat, The Man with Two Brains, The War of the Roses, The Virgin Suicides, and Peggy Sue Got Married – for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress – Turner has always excelled in carving fresh and memorable lines between comedy and drama, from her über-sultry turn as Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit to her gleeful life of suburban crime in John Waters’ Serial Mom.

Twice a winner at the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress for her roles in Romancing the Stone and Prizzi’s Honor, Turner has been nominated three other times for a Golden Globe, and received an Academy Award nomination in 1986 for her performance in Peggy Sue Got Married.

Turner has a storied career on television, including appearances on Friends, Californication, King of the Hill, Law & Order, Nip/Tuck, and The Simpsons. She has taught acting classes at New York University, serves on the boards of Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way, and Citymeals on Wheels, and is an honorary board member for the International Human Rights Arts Festival in New York City.

Turner has taken two productions from Broadway to London’s West End: Terry Johnson’s The Graduate in 2000 (in the role of Mrs. Robinson) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 2006. In 2014, she starred opposite Ian McDiarmid in Stephen Sachs' Bakersfield Mist at the Duchess Theatre in London.

Following her 2011-2012 run in the Broadway production of Matthew Lombardo’s High, Turner has appeared on stage in regional theaters around the country, including as the title character in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. At Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., she starred in Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and her Children and in Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.

Most recently, Turner has developed her first cabaret performance, Finding My Voice, which debuted in Philadelphia in 2017, and which then ran in London at The Other Palace Theatre and toured the United Kingdom. This February, she performed in the Donizetti opera La Fille du Régiment at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

“The roles for mature women onstage are a thousand times better than anything written in film,” Turner told Vulture in August 2018. “The screen roles are usually stereotypes: the evil stepmother, the bitter spinster. Whereas in theater there’s Martha or Mother Courage — I could name many characters I’d love to do. That’s why, knowing where my career could grow as I got less desirable for the camera, I focused on theater.”

Turner is the co-author of the 2018 book Kathleen Turner on Acting: Conversations About Film, Television, and Theater (with Dustin Morrow) as well as the 2008 memoir Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles (a collaboration with Gloria Feldt).

In Kathleen Turner on Acting, Turner recalls of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: “Once we got past the battle to allow us to do the original play, the original third act, then that opened up a lot of doors, in terms of exploring humor in the play. I cannot help but look for the humor in everything. I think that it is the best part of life, finding ways to laugh at it.”

About the 2019 Performance Gala

The Gala on Saturday, June 1 will begin with a cocktail hour at 6:00 p.m. with beer, wine, and champagne, featuring live entertainment from pianist Jim Brousseau.

The cocktail hour will be followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. Over dinner, Festival Curator David Kaplan will announce this year’s artistic programming, with a sneak peek performance from one of the shows.

After the meal, Kathleen Turner will discuss her life and career in an on-stage interview.

The fundraiser will also include a silent and live auction featuring original fine art and unique experiences, like the continuation of the Festival’s salon series with notable arts figures.

The evening of June 1 also marks the on-sale date for single tickets to Festival shows and events, which will become available online and by phone after the season announcement. Gala attendees can make ticket reservations at the Festival sales table in Town Hall that evening. 

Carte Blanche passes, Flex Passes, and Workshop Passes, which allow patrons to attend multiple shows at a discount, are currently available for purchase, and can be redeemed for specific shows and events online and by phone starting on the evening of June 1.

The Festival’s Gala Committee is chaired by Jim Mauro, with board members Deborah Bowles and Albert Carey, Jr.

About the 2019 Festival Theme

The 2019 Festival program (Sept. 26 – 29 in Provincetown, Massachusetts) will feature plays by Tennessee Williams and the provocative Japanese author Yukio Mishima. Born a world apart, Tennessee Williams and Yukio Mishima became good friends in the late 1950s. Williams willingly fell under Japanese influence for over a decade, up until 1970, the year Mishima died.

The September line-up of shows will include a new Japanese-inspired staging of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana, directed by Fred Abrahamse and produced by Cape Town, South Africa’s Abrahamse and Meyer Productions. The line-up will also include the English-language premiere of Yukio Mishima’s The Lighthouse, directed by Benny Sato Ambush.

“Williams wrote over eighty plays, Mishima sixty,” says Festival Curator David Kaplan. “Both share fever dreams of damnation and salvation onstage. For the unforgettable characters created by both writers, the glamor of illusion is often preferable to painful reality. Those collisions of glamor and pain make for great drama.”

Visit twptown.org/shows to read a Q&A with Kaplan about the themes of this year’s programming.

About the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival

The Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival was founded in 2006 in Provincetown — the birthplace of modern American theater — where Williams worked on many of his major plays during the 1940s. The TW Festival is the nation’s largest performing arts festival dedicated to celebrating and expanding an understanding of the full breadth of the work of America’s great playwright. Each year, theater artists from around the globe perform classic and innovative productions to celebrate Williams’ enduring influence in the 21st century, hosted by venues throughout the seaside village. For more details, visit twptown.org and follow the Festival on Facebook.

This Festival is funded in part by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and the Provincetown Tourism Fund, and is presented by the Pilgrim House.

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