Theater News

World Premiere of Unfinished Thornton Wilder Play, The Emporium, Announced

The author of Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth had a third play that never made it to the stage…until now.

David Rainey will play Mr. Foster in the world premiere of Thornton Wilder’s The Emporium at Alley Theatre.
(© Lynn Lane)

Houston’s Tony Award-winning Alley Theatre will present the world premiere of Thornton Wilder’s The Emporium from May 10 through June 2 in the Neuhaus Theatre.

Wilder is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth (he won for both). He died in 1975 without having finished his third full-length play, The Emporium. Kirk Lynn has completed the play through a special arrangement with the Wilder Estate, and that finished product will debut in a full production next month following a 2022 workshop presentation.

“At Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale, there were more than 300 pages of his unfinished script in Wilder’s papers,” said Lynn. “Working on The Emporium gifted me access to Wilder’s methods and his spirit.”

According to an official description, The Emporium “follows the journey of a young man from an orphanage who is adopted by a farmer but runs away to the big city only to discover all this is only a metaphor.”

The cast features Resident Acting Company members Elizabeth Bunch as Miss Coley, Shawn Hamilton as Mr. Benjamin, David Rainey as Mr. Foster, and Christopher Salazar as John. Additional, the cast will include Shawn Sides as Mrs. Frisbee, Raven Justine Troup as Laurencia, and Sally Wingert as Bernice. All actors are reprising their roles from the workshop in 2022.

Alley’s artistic director Rob Melrose will helm the production, with scenic design by Michael Locher, costume design by Raquel Barreto, lighting design by Cat Tate Starmer, and sound design by Yezminne Zepeda. The stage manager is Jocelyn A. Tompson and the assistant stage manager is Brandon Clark.


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The Emporium

Performances begin: May 10, 2024