To mark playwright Tennessee Williams' centennial year, Westport Country Playhouse will stage a performance by actor Richard Thomas in "A Distant Country Called Youth," based on a collection of letters written by a young Tennessee Williams, at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29.

The event will be a part of the programming planned for the playhouse's production of Williams' "Suddenly Last Summer" that will be staged from Aug. 23 to Sept. 10. It begins as the young Thomas Lanier Williams goes through family travails and professional rejection to his first success, and concludes with the Broadway opening of "The Glass Menagerie."

The production is adapted by Steve Lawson from "The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams, Vol. I, 1920-1945." It premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2001 and has since played at Hartford Stage, where Thomas first performed it, and at other theaters in America, England and Ireland.

Thomas, who starred in the television series "The Waltons," appeared in the playhouse's "Critic's Choice" and "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" Most recently, he was in a reading of A.R. Gurney's "The Golden Age" on the playhouse stage.

Lawson, executive director of the Williamstown Film Festival, also adapted "Blanche and Beyond," based on more letters by Williams. Television credits include a Christopher Award, a Humanitas Prize nomination, the adaptation of "The Elephant Man," "St. Elsewhere," and "Broadway's Dreamers: The Legacy of the Group Theatre," produced by Joanne Woodward.

A question-and-answer session with Thomas and Lawson, moderated by Anne Keefe, the playhouse's artistic advisor, will follow the performance.

Tickets cost $15. For information or tickets, call the box office at 203-227-4177, visit the playhouse, 25 Powers Court, or go to