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Looking Ahead To Warmer Days With William Inge

huntingtontheatreco (image cropped) / Flickr / Creative Commons

William Inge was born in the small town of Independence, Kan. in 1913, and is almost certainly our best-known playwright from the Sunflower State.

He first attracted notice with “Come Back, Little Sheba,” which won him the title of Most Promising Playwright of Broadway’s 1950 season. It was later adapted for film, starring Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster.

Inge won a Pulitzer Prize for “Picnic,” which opened in New York City in 1953. It was later adapted for film starring William Holden, Kim Novak and Rosalind Russell.

“Bus Stop” opened in 1955. The film adaptation that followed starred Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray and Eileen Heckart. And “The Dark at the Top of the Stairs,” which draws most heavily on Inge’s past and is arguably his best work, was released as a film in 1960, starring Dorothy McGuire and Robert Preston.

The Inge Festival is a yearly event in Independence, consisting of three days of performance, workshops, panels, parties and more. Since 1982, the Festival has bestowed the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in American Theatre Award to such greats as Stephen Sondheim, Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Tina Howe and Neil Simon.

This April, the Festival will honor Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies, and will include a reading of his latest play, “The Country House.” And for the ambitious among you, Margulies will also lead a Master Class in Playwrighting.

Looking forward to leaving winter behind and jumping into spring with William Inge? Find information about 2015's Inge Theatre Festival here.

Sanda Moore Coleman received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1991. Since then, she has been the arts and community editor for The Martha's Vineyard Times, a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and an assistant editor at Image. In 2011, she received the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange prize for fiction from Poets & Writers magazine. She has spent more than 30 years performing, reviewing, and writing for theatre.