Tennessee Williams was proclaimed a literary genius with his landmark play The Glass Menagerie, which opened on Broadway in 1945. His next triumph, A Streetcar Named Desire, ran for two years and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Williams’ shocking revelations of impotence, homosexuality, incest, rape and murder, stunned the nation’s theatergoers and provoked the anger of one of his most persistent critics, the Roman Catholic Church.
Despite winning a host of early accolades, he had not had a certified Broadway hit since Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, his second Pulitzer Prize winner, in 1955. The pressure to dream up more sensational plays caused him to suffer a nervous breakdown.
The Night of the Iguana had the longest gestation of any of Williams’ plays. Bedeviled by writer’s block and insomnia, Williams had great difficulty during this time. He rented a house in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he eventually finished the play.
Despite its trials and tribulations, The Night of the Iguana was selected by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle as the Best Play of 1962.
Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
A Streetcar Named Desire