Winterset (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Written by Maxwell Anderson
Date premiered September 25, 1935
Place premiered Martin Beck Theatre
New York City, New York
Original language English
Genre Drama

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 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.

A highly political play, with meditations on faith, truth, justice, love, and duty, it frequently alludes to Shakespearean and Judaic philosophies.

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 ever New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play.

Meredith, Margo, and Ciannelli were joined by John Carradine, Stanley Ridges, and Mischa Auer in the 1936 film adaptation, directed by Alfred Santell.

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 eventually rejected, causing the playwright to withdraw his offer. This incident became a source of contention with the group's actors. Members would often cite it as an example of "ill advised dogma"; of destructive, egotistical behavior.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Swindell, Larry (1975). Body and Soul. New York: William Morrow and Company. p. 94. ISBN 0-688-02907-8.