The Bay St. Louis Little Theatre recently held its 9th annual “Stella Yelling” contest in of Tennessee Williams’ 106th birthday. The event was held in spite of the rain because “the show must go on.” 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 film was directed by Sydney Pollack.
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 Charles Gray, Mayor Les Fillingame, Bruce Northridge (past winner), Nancy Moynan, and head judge and the first winner of the “Stella” contest, Larry Clark.
The first place winner was David Kernion assisted by his daughter Rachel of Baton Rouge. Second place was taken by Ben Henckell of Gulfport. In third place was Jeff Cabe of Waveland. The first place prize was a trophy and $150. Second and third place won $100 and $50, respectively.
The special role of “Stella” was played by Amy Coston. The contestants yell up to the balcony of the Little Theatre where, when the contest is ready to begin, Stella takes her place on the balcony.
The tribute is sponsored by the Silver Slipper Casino. The event is scheduled for March next year and will be posted on the Theatre website. Next year there will be a contest category for children 12 and under.