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TWT's Moon Lake Party to showcase Broadway veteran


Joel Vig appears in “An Evening with Sinthea Starr” at the Tennessee Williams Tribute’s Moon Lake Party Sept. 11 in Columbus.

Joel Vig appears in “An Evening with Sinthea Starr” at the Tennessee Williams Tribute’s Moon Lake Party Sept. 11 in Columbus. Photo by: Courtesy photo


Jan Swoope



The 13th annual Tennessee Williams Tribute and Tour of Victorian Homes Sept. 8-14 will bring a Broadway flair to Columbus as Joel Vig makes a return visit to the Golden Triangle. The veteran performer is featured in the Tribute's Moon Lake Party Sept. 11 at The Southern, a new event venue at 513 Main St. in historic downtown Columbus. 


"The Moon Lake Party this year will begin with a Southern Soul Food Supper by Chef Marty Wages at 6:30 p.m.," said Tribute Chair Brenda Caradine. Vocalist Brad Moreland, accompanied by pianist Carole Sorenson, will provide dinner music.  


After dinner, patrons will be treated to "An Evening with Sinthea Starr," a production conceived, adapted and directed by Vig. Vig last appeared in Columbus performing in his own adaptation of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" with acclaimed Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal.  


"Starr will entertain with spellbinding stories about her life and career, including her long association with America's greatest playwright, Tennessee Williams," Vig explained. Williams, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in Columbus March 26, 1911. He lived his earliest years with his family in what was then the rectory of St. Paul's Episcopal Church on College Street. His grandfather, the Rev. Walter Dakin, was rector of St. Paul's. The house has since been moved to 300 Main Street, where it serves as the city's welcome center. 


Renowned Tennessee Williams scholar Dr. Kenneth Holditch -- professor emeritus of literature at the University of New Orleans and first recipient of the Columbus Tribute's Scholar's Medallion -- joins Columbus actor and musician Shane Tubbs in Vig's production. 


Brook Hanemann Swire was originally set to entertain at the Moon Lake Party. Swire regrets she is unable to perform as scheduled in the Tennessee Williams Tribute printed materials owing to unfortunate personal circumstances. 




About Joel Vig 


The actor is perhaps best known for creating the starring role in the off-Broadway cult classic "Ruthless!" which won the Outer Critics 1993 Award for Best Musical. He was also one of the original performers in the Broadway smash "Hairspray," which swept the 2003 Tony Awards and won a Grammy Award for Best Cast Album. 


He co-starred with Gena Rowland in "All About Eve," with Jean Stapleton in Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful," with Stephanie Zimbalist in Williams' "The Two Character Play," and with Tammy Grimes in Williams' "Auto Da Fe" and "The Strangest Kind of Romance." 


As a guest artist with the Theatre Guild's Theatre At Sea program for more than 30 years, he directed and performed with stars including Carol Channing, Helen Hayes, Richard Kiley, Mary Martin, Ron Raines, Colleen Dewhurst, Cliff Robertson and many others. He is also a produced and published author and playwright, and a theater and cabaret writer and director.  


Recent projects include directing Joan Copeland's one-woman show off-Broadway and writing and directing Grimes' cabaret act which was chosen as one of the top ten acts of the year by Time Out Magazine.  


"We're so thrilled to have Joel Vig come back to Columbus for an event not-to-be-missed," said Caradine. "And we're excited the Moon Lake Party will be the first event held in The Southern, which is being beautifully remodeled." Likewise, Kim Bennett is pleased to open The Southern's doors to the public for the first time for such a special occasion. She and her husband, Dr. Dan Bennett, are the owners. 


"The Tribute has been part of Columbus' history for 13 years now, and we're glad to be part of it," said Bennett Thursday. "It's very exciting to finally be opening this type of service in town."  




How to go 


Moon Lake Party tickets are $40 at the Columbus Arts Council's Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  


Other Tribute events include theatrical performances of "The Glass Menagerie," scholars' talks, breakfast with the scholars, a Stella Shouting contest, luncheons, a movie screening, double decker bus tours, home tours, 5K run and a special Sunday sermon at St. Paul's. Several events are free. 


All-event package tickets are $100 through Aug. 30, $110 after that date. For other individual event prices go to, pick up a brochure at the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, or call 662-328-0222 or 800-327-2686. Or email caradine at [email protected]


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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