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American Theater Company rethinks casting for Inge’s ‘Picnic’

American Theater Company rethinks casting for Inge’s ‘Picnic’

When American Theater Company’s new artistic director Will Davis announced his first season of programming last spring, William Inge’s 1953 drama Picnic stood out among a slate of newer works. But Davis promised a “loving reimagining” that would center Inge’s own closeted homosexuality and “a life lived at the periphery of one’s own desire.”

We now know what that will look like, casting-wise at least. ATC announced this morning that Jeff Award winner Molly Brennan will play Hal, the handsome drifter who disrupts a small town on the day of the Labor Day picnic; Malic White will play Madge Owens, who finds herself attracted to Hal despite the fact that she’s dating Hal’s old friend Alan, to be played by Jose Nateras. Madge’s younger sister, Millie, will be played by Alexia Jasmene, with Patricia Kane as their mother, Flo.

Rosemary, the school teacher, will be played by Michael Turrentine, with Robert Cornelius as Rosemary's boyfriend, Howard; Laura McKenzie will play Mrs. Potts, the neighbor who hires Hal to do odd jobs.

“My number one goal here is to not have a conversation about what kind of body is playing the role of what kind of body,” Davis said in a press release. “I cast this show to reflect the queer longing I feel emanating from the heart of Inge's play.” The design team for Picnic includes Evvie Allison (choreography), Joe Schermoly (set), Melissa Ng (costumes), Rachel Levy (lights), Miles Polaski (sound) and Abigail Cain (props). Picnic runs March 17 to April 23 at American Theater Company.

Pictured top, from left: Molly Brennan, Robert Cornelius, Alexia Jasmene, Patricia Kane; bottom, from left: Malic White, Laura McKenzie, Jose Nateras, Michael Turrentine

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