Co-production with NAATCO and Transport Group 

May/June 2025

On a snowy night in Kansas, a diner can be an oasis, a prison, a place to hide, or a place to discover yourself. When a bus is forced to take shelter from stormy weather outside, a mismatched group of dreamers and cowboys, waitresses and outcasts find unexpected warmth in one another.  In William Inge’s 1955 classic, this great playwright of the Midwest gives voice to memorable characters who’ll linger like the perfect cup of diner coffee.


WILLIAM INGE (1913 – 1973) was born in Independence, Kansas and graduated from the University of Kansas. Inge started out as a laborer, teacher, and theater critic before finding success as a playwright, a path he was encouraged to follow by Tennessee Williams. He was first recognized nationally with Come Back, Little Sheba (1950), which premiered on Broadway and was adapted into a feature film. This was followed by the Pulitzer Prize winning Picnic (1953). Inge’s work for the stage would also include Bus Stop (1955), The Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1957), and A Loss of Roses (1959). Bus Stop was adapted for the screen and starred Marilyn Monroe. All of these works were characterized by Inge’s sympathetic portrayals of life in the small towns of the American Midwest, reflecting his own background. Later in his career, Inge turned to writing novels, television, and film. He received an Academy Award in 1961 for the screenplay of Splendor in the Grass. Inge is buried in his hometown, with a headstone that simply reads, “Playwright.”

JACK CUMMINGS III (Director) is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of New York’s award-winning Transport Group Theatre Company. He is a five-time Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Director, Audelco Award nominee for Best Director of a
Musical, and two-time Obie Award winner for Directing. He most recently directed the sold-out, star-studded Follies In Concert at Carnegie Hall.  His acclaimed productions of Summer and Smoke, Strange Interlude, Queen of the Mist, First Lady Suite, 1,000 Words Come To Mind, Arlington, and Almost, Maine have been filmed for preservation by The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Theatre on Film and Tape Division at Lincoln Center. His production of John Van Druten’s I Remember Mama, starring Academy Award nominee Barbara Barrie, was hailed by The New York Times as one of “The Top Ten Theatre Productions of 2014” as well as being named by The New Yorker one of “The Top Cultural Events of 2014.” The Wall Street Journal named his productions of William Inge’s Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba in rotating repertory among “The Best Theatre of 2017” as well as naming the cast “The Best Ensemble of 2017.” The New Yorker named his production of The Boys in the Band one of “The Top Off-Broadway Productions of 2010.” Buzzfeed named his production of Summer and Smoke one of “The Top Plays and Musicals of 2018.” His production of Almost, Maine was included in “The Best in Theatre in New York Theater in 2014” by The Advocate. His production of Queen of the Mist received The Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off- Broadway Musical and his productions of Renascence (co-directed with Dick Scanlan) and Hello Again received The Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical and Best Musical Revival, respectively. Under Cummings’ 23-year leadership, Transport Group has received The New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, 3 Drama Desk Awards including a Special Drama Desk Award “For its breadth of vision and its presentation of challenging productions.” In 2013, he directed the world premiere of one of Terrence McNally’s final plays, And Away We Go, Off-Broadway for The Pearl Theatre Company. In 2017, he directed the Broadway-bound world premiere musical Benny & Joon for The Old Globe Theatre as well as a subsequent production for Paper Mill Playhouse in 2019. Mr. Cummings received his B.A. in International Relations from The College of William and Mary and his M.F.A. in Directing from The University of Virginia. He is married to actress Barbara Walsh.

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