Roundabout Theatre Company's Artistic Director Todd Haimes just posted a blog entry on the upcoming Broadway production Picnic, discussing his reasons for staging the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by William Inge. The show begins this Friday, December 14, 2012, directed by Sam Gold.
"In Picnic, Inge wrote about people who felt particularly close to home for him. Growing up, his mother had taken in female school teachers as tenants, and Inge was fascinated by these single women and their lives. With his father on the road a great deal and his lone brother dying when Inge was 10 years old, Inge spent his formative years surrounded mostly by women," Halmes writes. "In fact, much of Picnic shows how closely Inge was paying attention to these women, watching as they were held back by society's expectations for them. In Picnic, we can see women fighting against loneliness, being undervalued because of lack of beauty or overlooked in spite of their intelligence, desperately clinging to hopes for the future, and struggling to make it through each day. The way that Inge writes about these women is typical of his best work, in which quiet lives quickly move from a simmer to a boil, and all it takes is one tiny spark (in this case, the arrival of the attractive Hal Carter) to make everything explode."
"For a decade, Inge was celebrated for this kind of work, and then it all suddenly came crashing down. After his four hits, Inge had a string of flops," Halmes continues. "When I read Inge's plays, I am incredibly frustrated by the way that he was brushed aside in his later years."
"My desire to bring Inge back into the spotlight is why I was so thrilled when the brilliant director Sam Gold approached me about reviving Picnic."
Read the rest of the blog post on Roundabout's website.
Picnic returns to Broadway in a striking new production helmed by acclaimed director Gold (Roundabout's Look Back in Anger, Seminar). Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn stars alongside theatre veterans Reed Birney (The Dream of the Burning Boy) and Elizabeth Marvel (Other Desert Cities), rising stars Maggie Grace ("Lost") and Sebastian Stan ("Gossip Girl"), Emmy Award winner Mare Winningham (recently seen in Tribes), Madeleine Martin (August: Osage County) and Ben Rappaport (Hope Springs).
It's a balmy Labor Day in the American Heartland, and a group of women are preparing for a Picnic... but they'll have to lay a lot on the line before they can lay out the checkered cloths. When a handsome young drifter named Hal (Stan) arrives, his combination of uncouth manners and titillating charm sends the women reeling, especially the beautiful Madge (Grace). When Hal is forced out of town, Madge must decide whether their fleeting encounter is worth changing the course of her life. Sensual, passionate and delightfully funny, Picnic is a timeless American classic about the line between restraint and desire.
Picnic will run from December 14, 2012, to February 24, 2013 at the American Airlines Theatre (227 West 42nd Street). This will be a limited engagement through February 24, 2013.