Rick Snyder’s production of William Inge’s 1955 classic offers fresh, meaningful portraits of loneliness, compassion, and hope while flawlessly maintaining period authenticity. Some of the ideas in this play about people waiting out a snowstorm in a small-town diner may be outdated–who expects to marry a virgin anymore? But the ensemble finds a timeless vulnerability in the passions and self-doubts of these stranded souls: a boisterous cowboy (Cliff Chamberlain), wayward lounge singer (Suzanne Lang), pedophile professor (William Brown), childlike waitress (Linsey Page Morton), and simple townspeople. Jack Magaw’s set enhances the intimacy tenfold, extending to the first row of seats, drawing us in with the smell of fresh coffee. The story may not be shocking or challenging, but under these circumstances it’s eminently satisfying. Through 3/26: Tue-Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8 PM, Sun 2:30 and 6 PM, Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe, 847-242-6000, $45-$57.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Brosilow.