When John Harkless, a decent optimist and the new owner and editor of the local newspaper, arrives in Plattville, Indiana, in 1889, he discovers that the tiny, dying town has long been represented in Congress by a corrupt political machine. In spite of threats to his life, Harkless—who bears a resemblance to Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—is determined to take on the bad guys and restore justice and pride to a community long in need of both. In the process he also discovers the true meaning of home in the unlikeliest of places. The Gentleman From Indiana is an ensemble play with a Thornton Wilder-like cast of eccentric characters who populate the town of fictional Plattville, including a brass band consisting of one lone tuba player. There is also a thoroughly modern young woman with a secret who not only gets the guy but saves his newspaper by becoming its editor in a most surprising way. Booth Tarkington's hugely successful novel was a celebration of compassion, decency, love, courage and integrity. More than a century later, James Still's fresh, vibrant, and lovingly crafted stage adaptation now makes it a compelling and relevant tale for contemporary theater audiences.
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