This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (March 2010)
|Written by||Maxwell Anderson|
|Date premiered||September 25, 1935|
Martin Beck Theatre|
New York City, New York
Winterset is a play by Maxwell Anderson.
A verse drama written largely in poetic form, the tragedy deals indirectly with the famous Sacco-Vanzetti case, in which two Italian immigrants with radical political beliefs were executed. Its plot follows Mio Romagna’s quest to prove his father’s innocence in the years after Bartolomeo Romagna was executed for a robbery and murder that he did not commit. Mio's quest is complicated by his love for Miriamne Esdras and the difficult ethical decisions that result from his connection with her family.
The Broadway production, produced and directed by Guthrie McClintic, opened on September 25, 1935 at the Martin Beck Theatre, where it ran for 195 performances. The cast included Burgess Meredith, Margo, and Eduardo Ciannelli.
It won the first New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play.
Anderson initially offered the play to The Group Theater with the stipulation that Meredith, a non-member, play the lead. Meredith wanted to join the group but when asked during his interview by the three directors "do you love the Group Theater above yourself?" he said no. He was rejected, causing the playwright to withdraw his offer to the Group Theater. This incident became a source of contention among the group's actors. Members often would cite it as an example of "ill advised dogma".