Little House on the Prairie: Melissa Gilbert Returns

Little House on the PrairieIn the current age of modern action series like Heroes, its hard to believe that a simple show like Little House on the Prairie was once a mainstay of the NBC Monday night schedule. The series ran for nine successful seasons on the peacock network and starred Michael Landon, Karen Grassle, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson and Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush. Landon was a co-executive producer of the series and directed many of the episodes.

Based loosely on the books by best-selling author Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), the series told the story of the pioneer Ingalls family and friends as they mad thie life in 1800s frontier Minnesota. One of the joys of the series was in watching young Melissa Gilbert as Laura grow through her early childhood into a mature teacher and mother. Now, 24 years after the series went off the air, Gilbert is returning to Little House on the Prairie.

Gilbert and Patrick Swayze have been signed to appear in a musical version of Little House on the Prairie. The staged reading of the new musical called Prairie, based on the original books by Ingalls Wilder, will feature Gilbert and Swayze as Ma and Pa Ingalls.

Beth Henley, who won the Pulitzer for writing Crimes of the Heart, wrote the play’s book. Donna DiNovelli wrote the lyrics and Oscar-winner Rachel Portman (Emma) composed the music. International director Francesca Zambello will direct the workshop. Zambello is set to direct a stage version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid in the Fall.

The staged readings will take place April 16-17 in Manhattan. Though the readings will be closed to the public, producers are hoping to mount a national tour for next Spring. If all goes according to plan, it could land on a New York stage after that. Stay tuned! TV Series Finale home page

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10 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Lori says

    I loved Little House on the Prairie. I have also heard that Michael Landon did not want to do any reunion shows. He couldn’t blow up the Ingalls house so he had to leave it standing with something and that is where the rabbits come into play. This was a very special and emotional show to all those involved. I would love to see a reunion show with all of the remaining characters in it. It would be interesting to see. I have also followed and visited several of the homesteads that the real Ingalls family lived in they are amazing and we must always keep the spirit of this family alive. Most of us came from a family similiar to the Ingalls. I highly recommend visiting Laura and Almanzo’s last home in Missouri. The foundation that takes care of it has kept it up amazingly and you can still feel Laura and Almanzo are there even though they have been gone for over fifty years now. She did not live to see her life made into a television show. I believe she would have been proud of what Michael Landon and the cast of Little House on the Prairie did to represent her time. The final house of Laura and Almanzo is in Mansifield Missouri.

  2. Sarah says

    I love the show it is one of my favorites! Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of my heroes. It is very amazing and outstanding to cross a river in a covered wagon and to fly to California in an airplane. The has many wonderful messages and wouldn’t be as popular without the Olesons’.

  3. says

    we just finished watching the final video of this show and it was very well done. Except the last view of all those rabbits running around was kind of hard to belivev as they would have taken them for food while traveling. But we did like how it ended – which is not really like the book.

  4. LYnn says

    There is also a rumor out there that Michael Landon didn’t want to have to do any reunion shows. So he blew up the town to avoid the possibility!

  5. says

    True. The townspeople were swindled out of their land and the buyer figured he’d get the houses for free. The townspeople blew up the houses so he couldn’t have them. It was a pretty dramatic way to end the series.

    In reality, the production company had to leave the land as they’d found it so they had to destroy the houses for real anyway. Pretty clever how they incorporated that into the series ending.

    Thanks for posting guys!

  6. Stephen says

    I found the answer to Barbara’s question on IMDB:

    “In the “The Last Farewell”, they really did blow up the town. Producer/star Michael Landon didn’t want the bulldozers to crush the buildings. So he wrote a story which gave the inhabitants the chance to destroy their town themselves. They did not however destroy the home that the Ingalls had lived in. That was destroyed by the fires in California in late 2003.”

  7. Barbara says

    I would like to know why they blew up the town in the last show of Little House on the Prairie. I seem to remember that someone had purchased the land the town was on, but am unsure, and my daughter and I were discussing it and would like to know. Thanks.

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