The play Picnic by William Inge, about a hunky young drifter who changes the lives of everyone he meets in a small Kansas town, was huge success when it debuted on Broadway in 1953. The role of the frequently shirtless drifter was played by a young Paul Newman, who caused an absolute SENSATION whenever he appeared onstage exposing his chest. As you can imagine. The movie version, however, starred William Holden, who was 37 at the time and looked like your dad, and could not for the LIFE OF HIM pull off the role of a 22-year-old ne’er-do-well. It’s embarrassing to watch today (except for Rosiland Russell’s jaw-dropping portrayal of a drunken spinster). That’s a shame because it’s the only version most people know today. And it’s a REALLY GOOD PLAY. Which brings me to the new Broadway production, starring Sebastian Stan, who completely rinses away the bad taste William left, thank GOD. Now we have ONE OF THE HOTTEST ACTORS OF HIS GENERATION, – freakin’ BUCKY from Captain America, y’all! – who MOST DEFINITELY can portray the kind of man whose reckless beauty disrupts lives, and whose character represents social upheaval and the dangerous undercurrents brewing in the 1950s. I imagine when Sebastian Stan rips off his shirt it’s going to be JUST as electrifying as when Paul Newman did it back in 1953, because, WOW, that is one helluva fine-looking stomach.
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