Tennessee Williams Fest Offers Diverse Cuisine, Programs
Classic Spanish paella, pork tenderloin, shrimp, chocolate silk tarts on menu
CLARKSDALE – When the Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary Oct. 12-13 on the campus of Coahoma Community College and historic sites across Clarksdale, visitors will sample a diverse range of cuisine and programming.
All events are free and open to the public thanks to grants from CCC, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Rock River Foundation, the Coahoma County Tourism Commission, and local donors.
However, reservations for meals are required with a fee by Wednesday, Oct. 10.
Following the opening keynote address on The Glass Menagerie in Whiteside Hall by Kenneth Holditch and live scenes from the play by veteran New York actor/directors Erma Duricko and Tim Brown, lunch in CCC’s Gallery will present a challenging menu.
“We are preparing paella, a seafood classic with shrimp, mussels, Spanish Chorizo sausage, and rice,” says Chef Brennon Warr, who brings gilt-edge credentials from his tenure at the Peabody’s Chez Phillippe to his position as CCC culinary arts director.
“For the less adventurous, we are also preparing gourmet Southwestern chili topped with cheese,” continues Warr who will partner with JoaAnn Hoskins, assistant culinary director and their students.
Both choices will be served with salad and hot fruit cobbler dessert.
Warr and Hoskins agree the menu offers a delicious solution to the past mid-day conference food when pork chops, creamed potatoes, and green beans proved prelude to a nap, and/or a large salad topped with grilled chicken strips prompted most men to look around for a second course.
The Meet and Greet Celebrities reception Friday night, Oct. 13, at the Clark House is a glittering posh affair honoring genuine theatre stars including Florence “Flo” Roach from the movie The Help.
Not only a playwright, speaker, and teacher, she has sung Porgy and Bess in the Memphis Orpheum with Opera Memphis.
With Wes Nichols and his Dutch Oven chefs preparing a diverse buffet, the menu includes pork tenderloin with honey-mustard sauce, chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce, celebration and Mexican layer dip with chips, skewers of sausage and cheese, trays of fresh vegetables and fruit and the restaurant’s signature chocolate silk and lemon tarts for dessert.
Following an informal welcome by Clark House owner Charles Evans of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Dr. Vivian Presley, CCC president, Coahoma’s music ensemble will perform and actor Jeff Glickman , a talented blues guitarist, will play at 7:45 p.m.
At 8:30 Broadway actor/playwright Jeremy Lawrence will present his original drama inspired by The Glass Menagerie.
On Saturday, tempting Southern appetizers will be offered visitors at the Cutrer Mansion where an historic marker from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will be unveiled at 1:30 p.m.
Described by many as the best cooks in Clarksdale, members of the Clarksdale Woman’s Club will also be offering appetizers, tea, or punch at their club house on the corner of Sharkey and First Street during the afternoon of porch plays from 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The festival food and theatre finale culminates at Ground Zero Blues Club at 5:30 p.m. when winners of the Student Drama Competition are honored and invited to perform their winning presentations on stage, followed by commentary from professional actors and directors.
The menu is informal with barbecue sandwiches, fries, and cool drinks.
For meal reservations, visit the festival website and schedule: www.coahomacc.edu/twilliams or call CCC public relations at 662-621-4157.
Coahoma Community College Chefs Brennon Warr, right, director of the culinary arts program, and JoAnn Hoskins, assistant director, will prepare a menu of classic Spanish paella and Southerwestern chili for Friday lunch during the Tennessee Williams Festival Oct. 12.
Following an informal barbecue supper at Ground Zero, professional actors take turns commenting on the quality of student drama competitors during the 2011 festival. At the microphone is veteran Oxford actor Johnny McPhail.
A diverse crowd of local residents including Gladys Walker (left) and students from Hernando High School (far right) becomes spellbound during a dramatic performance in the Clark House during the 2011 Tennessee Williams Festival. The post reception will feature gourmet food, music, and drama Oct. 12.