is a 1953 play
by William Inge
. The play premiered at the Music Box Theatre
on 19 February 1953 in a Theatre Guild
production, directed by Joshua Logan
, which ran for 477 performances.
The original cast featured Ralph Meeker
, Eileen Heckart
, Arthur O'Connell
, Janice Rule
, Reta Shaw
, Kim Stanley
and Paul Newman
. Inge won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
for the work, and Logan received a Tony Award
for Best Director
. The play also won the New York Drama Critics' Circle
Award for Best Play of the season.Picnic
was Paul Newman's Broadway debut. An unknown at the time, Newman campaigned heavily for the leading role of Hal, but director Joshua Logan did not think Newman was physically large enough to convey the lead character's athletic attributes. As a result, Ralph Meeker was given the role of Hal opposite Janice Rule
as Madge. Newman played Hal's former college roommate Alan Seymour while understudying the role of Hal. Newman eventually took over the lead role.
In a small town in Kansas, everything is going calmly and according to plan for widow Flo Owens and her two daughters. Madge, the oldest, is on her way to being a trophy wife of Alan, a well-groomed college boy, while the younger, more rambunctious daughter Millie is getting ready to go to college on a scholarship. When Hal, a rough and handsome young bum and old friend of Alan, shows up and starts working for the neighbor next door, Flo starts to worry about the safety of her daughters.
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