Inge’s legacy detailed


Local News

January 14, 2019 - 10:08 AM

William Inge

Once upon a time — let’s call it the early 1950s — three colossi of the American theater overshadowed all the other playwrights in the land. Award-winning scripts tumbled from their desks and were picked up by Broadway and performed for packed houses and praised to the skies by the critics.

Each writer, in his own way, labored to dramatize the unspoken desires and anxieties that pulsate beneath the polite veneer of the American middle-class family. And for years these men ate Pulitzer Prizes like candy: Tennessee Williams for “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1948; Arthur Miller for “Death of a Salesman” the next year; and William Inge for his play “Picnic” four years after that.

Who, in 2019, hasn’t heard of “Streetcar” or “The Glass Menagerie” or “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”? And who can’t find in the disappointed salesman Willy Loman her own story of neglected dreams and untended ambition? And what high schooler hasn’t been assigned Miller’s costume allegory, “The Crucible”?