New Orleans details from conference chair

Brochures for the New Orleans conference will be winging their way to ATCA members next week. We have a short window to make bookings (by Feb. 22). The rate of $159 per night is far and above the best rate in town for the French Quarter. Most rooms on the weekends are going for $229-299 each, minimum.

We will have the following plays or stage works during the conference:

  1. “When Ya Smilin’” - An original work by Ricky Graham reminiscing growing up in New Orleans in the 1950s and 1960s - Rivertown Repertory Theaters for the Performing Arts, Kenner, LA (Buses provided)
  2. “Tennessee Williams Tribute” - Professional reading at Ursuline Convent, the oldest building in the Mississippi Delta, featuring writer-director John Waters
  3. “Suddenly Last Summer” - Tennessee Williams’ classic staged by the award-winning Southern Repertory Theater – Site to be determined
  4. “Don’t Get Dressed Until after Dark on Sundays” - Professional reading by the award-winning NOLA Project of the work that eventually became Tennessee Williams’ “Vieux Carré.”
  5. “Dinner with Friends” - Donald Margulies’ Pulitzer Prize winning drama – Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré

     We will have a big reception party at famous Gallier Hall with a reception featuring New Orleans traditional jazz clarinet player Tim Laughlin and his trio. The Honorable Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, is expected to attend. Later that night we are expected to be greeted by the Honorable Mike Yenni, mayor of Kenner.

     Aside from the two professional readings, we are also expected to take part in several events with the Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival, including an interview with John Lahr, the author and critic who has just published Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, and a panel with playwrights John Patrick Shanley and Martin Sherman.

     There is also a progressive tour by bus of the local theater scene including athe historic Saenger Theater, Joy Theater, Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts and other smaller venues with iconic New Orleans libations and foodstuffs along the way.

       We are very grateful that the conference is supported by a generous grant from the New Orleans Theatre Association. Get ready for a good time!!! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Alan Smason 


Invitation from ATCA chair

Laissez les bontemps rouler!

The Big Easy beckons you and it’s open for business — ATCA business! Whether you call it the Crescent City, NOLA, N’Awlins or the Big Easy, you’ll find its French Quarter streets paved with beignets, chicory coffee, Sazeracs, pralines and Hurricanes (the kind you drink, not the kind that blow). Come for the voodoo and jazz, stay for the theatre and the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival (TWNOLF), the centerpiece of our 2015 Annual Conference, March 25-29. Take a side trip down the Mississippi River to the Battle of New Orleans historic site, or ferry across Old Man River for a stroll through one of the vast Mardi Gras warehouses. Sample some smoked alligator, Gulf oysters, etoufee, red beans and rice or authentic jambalaya.

Our Conference will begin officially early Wednesday evening, March 25, but for those who arrive early, the afternoon offers a visit to the National World War II Museum and its Stage Door Canteen, with a performance of America’s Sweethearts, period hits ala the Andrews Sisters.

The three days that follow will begin with important ATCA general membership meetings (with breakfast) and ExCom elections at our hotel, the Astor Crowne Plaza French Quarter, and offer evening or matinee performances at top local theatre troupes: Rivertown Theatre, Southern Repertory Theatre and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre. Also, we’ll take in readings of several Williams plays as part of the TWNOLF, and also attend an atmospheric performances of Tenn’s Hotel Plays at the historic Hermann-Grima House in the Quarter. Panel discussions will feature playwrights John Patrick Shanley and Martin Sherman, and distinguished critic John Lahr, whose new book, The Mad Man’s Pilgrimage of the Flesh, is a biographical study of Williams.

There will be transportation by private buses to venues outside the French Quarter, but members should be aware that buses are not allowed in the Quarter itself. There will be walks (on flat streets) of several blocks to/from Conference venues within the Quarter. As usual, we will complete our Conference by 1PM on Sunday, March 29.

Our 2015 Annual Conference is underwritten in part by a generous and deeply-appreciated grant from the New Orleans Theatre Association (NOTA). Our Conference chair, Alan Smason, has worked his NOLA butt off to make sure everything is ready for us.

    Online registration is open NOW. EARLY BIRD RATES CLOSE FEB. 22, which also is the cut-off date for our bloc of hotel rooms. Just click this link to register: {link coming later today]

Hotel booking info, which you must do separately, already has been sent out. The Astor Crowne Plaza French Quarter rate of $159/night (plus taxes and fees) really is an extraordinary deal for high season in New Orleans. Check the various hotel booking sites and see for yourself. I did, and found all offered rates for our property at least $100 higher. Our room bloc is only 55 rooms and our cut-off date is February 22, so do not delay! When the rooms are gone, you’ll be on your own to find accommodations.

    As the old Dixieland jazz song goes, “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?” Don’t miss our first-ever Annual Conference in one of America’s truly legendary and historic cities.

—  Jonathan Abarbanel

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