Sotheby's to Auction Original Streetcar Manuscript With Revelatory Notes By Williams | Playbill

News Sotheby's to Auction Original Streetcar Manuscript With Revelatory Notes By Williams An archive of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, including the first working draft for the stage, a draft of the screenplay and important notes by the author, will be auctioned at Sotheby's Dec. 14 for an estimated price of up to $500,000.

According to Sotheby's, the collection is "a highly important archive detailing the creation and evolution of what is arguably the single most important play in the history of American drama."

Details in the notes reveal that one of the play's most famous lines: "Whoever you are — I have always depended on the kindness of strangers," spoken by Blanche DuBois, was first written as "Whoever you are — I place myself at your mercy!" The archive also includes letters between Williams and producer Irene Selznick in which the playwright suggests cutting a couple of speeches to which she replies "Hey! How can you toss stuff like this overboard so lightly?"

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The world-renowned auction house states it is "the most important gathering of manuscript material by America's greatest playwright ever to be offered at auction."

The lot features: approximately 185 leaves of typescript and carbon typescript, some annotated, and a few pages of manuscript, drafting and reworking speeches and scenes, primarily from the second half of the play; Williams' three drafts of a one-page typed memo regarding Stella's pregnancy; a one-page typescript of notes to Selznick and its director Eliza Kazan regarding the scene leading up to Blanche's departure; two typescript leaves, one from Night of the Iguana and one from The Rose Tattoo; a three-page typed eulogy of Frank Merlo, written by Williams in 1963 and a collection of six photographs, two showing Williams with Kazan and one of Williams with Frank Merlo and another man in Key West (captioned "La Vie en Rose"), among other documents.

Long-considered an American classic, A Streetcar Named Desire opened on Broadway in 1947 and has since been revived eight times on the Great White Way and produced countless times around the world. Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy starred in the original staging, with Brando going on to star in the film adaptation – a role which became iconic for the famed actor. The Streetcar collection was preserved by Williams' companion Merlo from 1950 until his early death in 1963. For more details visit

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