Mid-West Side Story: Watching Come Back, Little Sheba (for Parterre Box)

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Cameron Kelsall: Last week, we discussed fake Inge in the form of Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. I guess it’s now time to take up the real thing. The Kansas playwright’s first major success, Come Back, Little Sheba, has always had a special place in my heart among mid-century dramas. The 1952 film version, which captures Shirley Booth’s legendary performance, is irreplaceable. It’s available on YouTube—and I certainly recommend it—but today, we’re considering a more curious adaptation. In 1977, it was filmed for British television, starring the improbable cast of Sir Laurence Olivier, Joanne Woodward and Carrie Fisher, among others. Those are certainly the names that come to mind when you think Midwestern melodrama—right, David?

David Fox: Yes, indeed! You are, I know, more of an Inge fan generally than I am, though I like Sheba very much, and have also seen at least two very compelling productions—in Los Angeles with Tyne Daly (superb), and in an interestingly reconceptualized version by an ambitious and accomplished local Philadelphia company. Both of these captured, in their very different ways, something centrally Midwestern and mid-century that’s inherent in the play…

Read the entire piece at Parterre Box.

Categories: Criticism, PARTERRE BOX, Theater

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