William Inge is another American playwright for whom I have a great deal of respect. He was born in Kansas in 1913 and died in 1973.His body of work is impressive, and like many highly creative people he was often plagued by doubts. When one of his best known plays, Come Back, Little Sheba was in pre-production in New York, he worried that it would not be a success on Broadway.
The play was written while Inge was teaching at Washington University in St. Louis and went on to run on Broadway for 190 performances in 1950, winning Tony Awards for Shirley Booth and Sidney Blackmer. The 1952 film adaptation won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Shirley Booth.
During his years of teaching in St. Louis, 1946 to 1949, Inge joined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and it was there he met the wife of one of the members. Her name was Lola and Inge based the character of Lola in Come Back Little Sheba on her.
Many of the plays Inge wrote featured small town life and were set in places in the heartland, and he was often called the “Playwright of the Midwest”. Maybe that is one reason I like his work so much. I am very much a small town girl. Another of his notable plays was Picnic, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize.
Inge wrote two novels, both set in the fictional town of Freedom, Kansas. Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff explores the reactions to a high-school teacher who loses her job because she has an affair with the school’s black janitor. The play was adapted for film in 1979, and the movie starred Anne Heywood as Evelyn Wyckoff. I have not read the book or seen the movie, but it sounds like a story I would enjoy. I do like exploring social issues.
During the early 1970s, Inge lived in Los Angeles and taught playwriting at the Irvine campus of the University of California. His later works were not as successful as his earlier ones and he became severely depressed, worried that he would never be able to write well again. He committed suicide at the age of 60.
In reading about Inge, I found that there is a book available, Four Plays, a collection of some of his better known work. Guess what is on my wish list.
On another note – Last year about this time, I participated in the blog tour for Marney Makridakis’ best selling book Creating Time. It features ways to manage time in fun and creative ways and I enjoyed the book very much. Now we’re all celebrating the one year anniversary with a fabulously fun teleclass event on Thursday, April 18 called “Time Tango 2013”. Best of all, it’s my kind of price: free! Sign up Here
11 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge – I is for Inge”
I liked the Come Back Little Sheba movie.
Interesting post; I love learning about people I don’t know.
this is a great bunch of post, i am learning plenty… thank you.
Glad you are enjoying your visits, Jeremy.
Angeline, I love learning new things and that is one of the neatest things about the A to Z challenge.
Teresa, I really enjoyed the movie, too. Reading about it made me want to rent it and watch it again. (smile)
I didn’t get to see any of Inge’s plays on the stage but I thoroughly enjoyed several of the movie adaptations. Picnic was my favorite.
Thanks for another informative post. I hate to say it, but it was all new to me. I love plays and it is my goal to someday go to one on Broadway.
Helen, perfectly understandable. Who would expect a mermaid to know about theatre? (smile)
LD, I liked so many of his stories, but only saw them in film. Picnic was another good one.
I loved the movie of Bus Stop. Picnic, not so much. Of course, I saw it at the drive in when I was about six. They would take us in the station wagon with beds made up in the back. We were supposed to watch the cartoon, then go to sleep. I saw more movies inappropriate for my age….
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I love your theme…very educational.
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Hi Maryann, I grew up going to plays with my family every couple of weeks during the summers, and then sporadically during the rest of the year. Saw lots, but as a younger person, while I enjoyed many different works, I didn’t may much attention to the authors. Now I do, of course. So sad, that such a talented man would still have such doubts! thank you for sharing posts along such an interesting theme!
Damyanti, I enjoyed the excerpt you had on your blog today, too.
Marian, you were only six when Picnic came out? I won’t say how old I was. (smile) I do remember those drive ins, but I was a teenager then.
Shaunda, glad you are enjoying the posts. I, too, did not appreciate authors and playwrights when I was younger as much as I do know. But I still have trouble remembering names sometimes.