Academy Award winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Hayden Panettiere (TV's Heroes) recently participated in a reading of William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Picnic, according to The New York Times. Producer Darren Bagert revealed he is planning a Broadway run for the show, but no casting is official. Sam Gold (Kin, Circle Mirror Transformation) is attached to direct.
In addition to Leo and Panettiere, Laura Innes (ER), Seth Numrich (War Horse) and The Illusion's Lois Smith and Finn Wittrock participated in the reading.
"Mr. Inge is definitely a playwright that is undervalued still," Bagert said, "and there is a subtle strength in Sam Gold's direction that, I think, makes him a perfect match for Inge."
Picnic follows Flo, a Kansas widow (played by Leo in the reading), whose eldest daughter Madge (Panettiere) is readying to marry the well-educated Alan (Numrich), while her younger daughter prepares for college. Flo begins to worry for her daughters when a rugged, handsome young man named Hal begins to work at their neighbor's home. Innes read the role of the schoolteacher Rosemary, which producers had previously approached Allison Janney to play.
Picnic first opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre on February 19, 1953, and ran for 477 performances. The original production starred Peggy Conklin as Flo and featured Paul Newman in his Broadway debut as Alan. A 1994 revival starred Ashley Judd, Tate Donovan, Kyle Chandler, Debra Monk and Polly Holliday.