from the Footlights

Summer 2005                                          “Life shouldn’t be all work and no plays.”                 


August 3: William Inge’s Bus Stop

Footlights’ next dinner-discussion will take place on Wednesday, August 3 at Alfio’s. Our play will be Bus Stop (1955) by William Inge, described by the playwright as “a composite picture of various kinds of love.” In a small restaurant in Kansas, four passengers and the driver of a west-bound bus await the reopening of the highway closed by a blizzard. What unfolds is an exploration of the bounds of acceptable behavior in the middle America of that time. A nightclub singer named Cherie has been kidnapped by a young cowboy who is ready to sling her over his shoulder and carry her, kicking and screaming, down the aisle. Overnight, the café owner and the bus driver explore a long-overdue friendship, a middle-aged scholar faces his past, and a small-town girl gets her first taste of romance. Longtime Footlights member John Glynn will lead our discussion.

Our August 3 dinner-discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. at Alfio’s in the Willoughby Apartments, 4515 Willard Ave, Chevy Chase, MD (301-657-9133), two blocks from the Friendship Heights Metro. Street parking is limited; Alfio’s offers complimentary valet parking. Arrive at 6:30 for dinner; our meeting begins at 7:30 and goes no later than 9:30. We have arranged a fixed price meal at Alfio’s. For only $12 (tax and service charge included) you will have salad, entree, ice cream and coffee or tea. Cash is preferred, but you may use checks or credit cards. An additional $5 donation to Footlights is encouraged.

You may come for the discussion only at 7:30 p.m. We’ll set up a few seats at the back of the room, or you may use any unoccupied seats at the tables.

Reservations are required. Call or e-mail Mark Gruenberg anytime for reservations, 202-898-4825 or [email protected]. If you must cancel be sure to notify Mark so that someone else can attend.

Read the play. Bus Stop is readily available in anthologies, libraries, or at Backstage Books (202-544-5744), 545 8th St. SE, Washington, DC (Eastern Market metro stop). In addition, you may wish to study materials on the playwright. Suggestions are: A Life of William Inge by Ralph F. Voss or William Inge by R. Baird Shuman. On the web, look at the Inge Center for the Arts,

Bus Stop Screening

Bus Stop originally opened on Broadway on March 2, 1955 to immediate commercial and critical success. Bus Stop was made into a popular Hollywood film in 1956 with Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray and Eileen Heckert in starring roles. To see Bus Stop on stage, you would have to visit the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario or the Williamstown Festival in the Berkshires this summer. Or, for a mere $1, you can come to a special Footlights screening of the film version on Thursday, August 18, 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 4444 Arlington Blvd. The Church is located on the SW corner of the intersection of Arlington Blvd (Rt. 50) and George Mason Dr, with entrance to the church parking lot from George Mason. For maps and detailed directions see

The Disputation Starts Our Next Season

One of the most noted controversies between religions—and the role of religion in the state—will be the subject of our first dinner-discussion of Footlights’ eleventh year (!) on September 12, when Footlights tackles The Disputation by Hyam Maccoby. The play is having its U.S. premiere at Theatre J, under the direction of our guest speaker (and Footlights Advisory Board member), Nick Olcott. It focuses on a famous controversy in medieval Spain, before the Jews were expelled, when the King called the nation’s leading Rabbi and a convert-turned-theologian into a debate over the teachings of Jewish scriptures...and the outcome. The conclusion was unusual, especially for medieval Spain as the Inquisition was approaching, and so is the play. To make reservations, call or e-mail Mark Gruenberg after August 3 at 202-898-4825 or [email protected].

Copies of the play, available only to Footlights members, will be sold at the August 3 meeting for $5.25. To receive a copy by mail, add $2 for S&H. Send your request to Beatrice Rouse at PO Box 5443, Rockville, MD 20848. Make your check payable to Beatrice.

See Royal Hunt on Sunday, July 31

Footlights will see The Royal Hunt of the Sun by Peter Shaffer at the Washington Shakespeare Company on Sunday, July 31, 2 p.m. with cast post-show discussion included in our ticket price of $15. WSC productions are at the Clark Street Playhouse, 601 South Clark Street, Crystal City (Arlington), Virginia. For directions see on the web or call the theater, 703-418-4808. For reservations to join us, send your check for $15 to Footlights, c/o Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct, Rockville, MD 20852. If you are interested in carpooling to WSC, either as a driver or passenger, contact Robin at 240-669-6300 or [email protected]).

About Footlights

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Please support Footlights, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Send your tax-deductible contributions to Footlights, c/o Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct, Rockville, MD 20852.



Sunday, July 31, 2 p.m., see The Royal Hunt of the Sun at WSC (Clark St. Playhouse); $15 ticket includes post-show discussion.

Wednesday, August 3, 6:30 p.m., dinner-discussion of William Inge’s Bus Stop at Alfio’s.

Thursday, August 18, 7:30 p.m., screening of Bus Stop at the UU Church of Arlington. $1.


Monday, September 12, 6:30 p.m., dinner-discussion of Hyam Maccoby’s The Disputation at Alfio’s. Guest: Nick Olcott


Meeting reservations:      Mark Gruenberg, 202-898-4825 or [email protected]


Theater tickets:                Robin Larkin, 240-669-6300 or [email protected]