It doesn’t look like there’s been any kind of official announcement from the official places, but according to those who know these kinds of things, in the new Little House on the Prairie musical, to debut this summer in Minneapolis, the role of Caroline Ingalls will be played by none other than Melissa Gilbert.
I’m going to full-on admit that this excites the heck out of me. I find the non-parallels between the show and the series as tiresome as the next Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, but I’m also of That Age. I spent my pre-adolescence wanting desperately to be Laura Ingalls — the brown-eyed Walnut Grove schoolgirl who visited my living room every Monday night. And it’s thanks to the “based on the Little House series of books” in white, all-cap lettering at the end of that show that I got to know the real Laura.
I can’t help but wonder how she’s going to approach the material. Will she assume Ma’s quiet, gentle firmness? Will she reread the books? Cover her ears with her hair? I guess it’s a blessing that Karen Grassle (I’ve said this before) did such justice to the role of Caroline in the first place. She’ll have a wonderful frame of reference. Has Melissa contacted her TV Mom for insight or advice? I’d love to know.
I also wonder: does Melissa see Ma the same way I do now that I’m an adult? Now that I’m a mother? Has her perspective shifted in ways she didn’t expect?
That’s a whole other blog post, I think.