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Two-time Tony Award nominee Alison Fraser's Tennessee Williams: Words and Music album merges songs featured in the works of the iconic playwright with select readings of his flavorful prose. The album, recorded in New Orleans with the rollicking band The Gentlemen Callers, combines theater and traditional jazz in an exciting new hybrid. Using country-western ballads, Mississippi blues, Latin love songs as well as classic standards, the album paints a striking new picture of a literary titan.
Tennessee Williams: Words and Music features songs taken both from major plays of the Tennessee Williams cannon â€“ such as A Streetcar Named Desire (the Harold Arlen standard â€œItâ€™s Only A Paper Moonâ€) and This Property is Condemned (Gene Autryâ€™s â€œYouâ€™re the Only Starâ€) â€“ in addition to lesser-known later works like Clothes for a Summer Hotel (NÃ¶el Cowardâ€™s â€œThe Partyâ€™s Over Nowâ€) and Something Cloudy, Something Clear (the Oscar-winning Hawaiian staple â€œSweet Leilaniâ€). Other highlights include the dramatic theatrical showstopper â€œSt. Louis Bluesâ€ and â€œNew San Antonio Rose,â€ which becomes a comedic tour de force thanks to Fraserâ€™s distinctive yodel. The centerpiece is Fraserâ€™s thrilling voice, at points warm and rustic, at others bold and powerful.
The album is a vibrant document of Alisonâ€™s one-woman show Only a Paper Moon: A Tennessee Williams Songbook, which premiered at The Tennessee Williams Festival in Williamsâ€™ birthplace Columbus, Mississippi. The show then won great acclaim at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival. David Kaplan â€“ noted Williams scholar, the showâ€™s director, and curator of the Provincetown festival â€“ compiled the songs and monologues from several Tennessee Williams plays, which together tell a compelling new story of their own.