The Bay St. Louis Little Theatre recently held its 10th annual “Stella Yelling” contest. On Saturday, March 26th, Tennessee Williams’ 107th birthday, the contestants gathered at the balcony of the Little Theatre to compete for the best Stanley Kowalski yell-for-Stella originated in the play “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
The contest is part of the tribute to writer Tennessee Williams. Every year the Little Theatre pays a tribute to Williams because of the connection to the writer’s history with the theater building. The Little Theatre is the featured location of the Hollywood major motion picture “This Property is Condemned” filmed in Bay St. Louis in 1965. The movie screenplay was adapted from Williams’ one act play of the same title. The adaptation was the first screenplay written by Francis Ford Coppola.
The contestants performed the infamous “Stella” yell from Williams’ play “A Streetcar Named Desire” made memorable by Marlon Brando in the Broadway play and then again in the movie. The contestants were judged on their appearance, believability, angst, overall theatrical performance. The judges were Mike Kopke, Jennifer Kopke, Charles Gray, Mayor Mike Favre, Bruce Northridge (past winner), Nancy Moynan, and Clayton Pennylegion.
The first place Adult winner was Jim Fraiser of Pass Christian. Second place was taken by Jeff Cabe of Bay St. Louis. In third place was Denise White of Bay St. Louis. In the Adult Division, the first place prize was a trophy and $15o. Second and third place won $100 and $50, respectively.
The first place Children’s winner was Briggs Marett of Birmingham, Alabama. Second place winner was Paul Fraiser and third place was Liam Morgan. Children’s division first place was awarded a trophy and $50. Second and third places in the Children’s division were awarded $35 and $25, respectively.
The special role of “Stella” was played by Amy Coston. When the contest is ready to begin, Stella takes her place on the balcony. The contestants yell up to the balcony of the Little Theatre where Stella stands.
The event is scheduled for March every year. The 2019 “Stella” contest will be posted on the Theatre’s website.