||March 2, 1955
Bus Stop is a 1955 play by William Inge. The film of the same name is only loosely based upon it.
Bus Stop is a drama, with romantic and some comedic elements. It is set in a diner in rural Kansas, about 20 miles west of Kansas City, Missouri during a snowstorm from which bus passengers must take shelter. The characters are:
- Elma Duckworth — An intelligent but naive high school student; she is Grace's waitress.
- Will Masters — The local sheriff. Tough as nails and brusque in manner, but good-hearted and a staunch Christian, described in the play as a "deacon of his church". A highly "moral" man in the general sense of the word.
- Dr. Gerald Lyman — A college English professor who is articulate and charming, but cannot hold a position, partially due to his resistance to any kind of authority, and partially due to his unfortunate taste for young women. He also has an obvious drinking problem.
- Cherie — A pretty young woman who comes from a difficult "hill folk" background, and has left her innocence far behind. She is an aspiring nightclub singer, but has never worked in any establishment above the level of "cheap dive".
- Bo Decker — A brash young cowboy with boorish manners that hide a naivete almost as profound as Elma's. He has convinced himself that Cherie will be his bride, though Cherie wants nothing to do with him.
- Virgil Blessing — An older, wiser cowboy who has become a father figure to Bo, (who was orphaned at the age of ten) as well as Bo's head ranch hand.
- Carl — The bus driver, who has an ongoing "just passing through" relationship with Grace, which, as referenced repeatedly in the play, is purely sexual in nature.
The play is set in a diner about 20 miles west of Kansas City in early March, 1955. A freak snowstorm has halted the progress of the bus, and the eight characters have a weather-enforced layover in the diner from approximately 1 to 5 a.m. Romantic or quasi-romantic relationships ensue between Grace and Carl, Professor Lyman and Elma, and Cherie and Bo. Virgil and Will are the older authority figures outside the relationships.
The play opened on March 2 1955 and closed on April 21 1956, running for a total of 478 performances. The opening night cast starred Albert Salmi as Bo Decker and Kim Stanley as Cherie and was directed by Harold Clurman.
In 1996 there was a short-lived revival that ran for 29 performances.
In August 1982, Bus Stop was presented on television; a special filmed performance of the play at the Claremont Theater in California, directed by Peter Hunt. This version starred Tim Matheson as Bo Decker and Margot Kidder as Cherie.
- Bus Stop at the Internet Broadway Database
- Bus Stop (1996 revival) at the Internet Broadway Database
- Bus Stop (1982) (TV) at the Internet Movie Database