‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Melissa Gilbert Is Taking on a New Role

by Lauren Boisvert

Gone are the days of little Laura Ingalls running around the prairie house with her pigtails a-swinging. Clearly, some may always think of her that way, but Melissa Gilbert is now taking on a new theater role as a rehab therapist in the upcoming play “When Harry Met Rehab.” She’s been rehearsing in Chicago, Illinois, where the show opens on Nov. 24.

Gilbert reposted a photo from the play’s official Instagram page announcing her role in the project. “We are beyond THRILLED to announce that Melissa Gilbert, from the television classic ‘Little House on The Prairie’ and Theater World Award recipient, will be playing the role of Barb, a rehab therapist and former addict,” the caption read.

Chicago sports radio personality Harry Teinowitz wrote the play loosely based on his life experiences. It follows a spiraling alcoholic sportscaster as he navigates rehab and, apparently, a magician who sets him straight. Dan Butler stars as the titular Harry; additionally, Butler is best known for playing Bulldog on “Frasier,” the loud-mouth, opinionated host of the Gonzo Sports Radio Show.

Melissa Gilbert is, of course, best known for playing young Laura Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie” opposite Michael Landon as her father, Charles Ingalls. Certainly, the two, along with the rest of the Ingalls clan, delighted audiences for nearly 9 years. Gilbert’s previous theater credits include “The Glass Menagerie,” “Bus Stop,” “Love Letters” and “Little House on the Prairie: The Musical.”

“When Harry Met Rehab” opens on Nov. 24 at the Greenhouse Theater Center in Chicago, then opens for a limited run from Dec. 5 through Jan. 30.

Melissa Gilbert’s Road Trip had a ‘Higher Purpose’

Along with rehearsing for “When Harry Met Rehab,” Melissa Gilbert also spent time in Chicago seeing her granddaughter, Ripley. She posted a sweet series of photos of the new baby on her Instagram, where she’s been posting photos from her road trip to Chicago. She’s been taking the road trip with her husband, Timothy Busfield.

“Our road trip actually had a higher purpose. We got to see our sweet Ripley,” Gilbert started her heartwarming caption. “This sweet little thing is just a bundle of personality and giggles and…teething. We are so proud of her parents, daughter-in-law [Marissa Brinkman] and our boy Dakota.” Gilbert included a series of photos in the post; firstly, her husband holding his granddaughter in his lap. Secondly, Gilbert holding Ripley in the air. Third, an adorable portrait of the new baby.

“They are amazing with her and she just adores them. I’m madly in love with #ripleylou as I am with all of our grandchildren and grandchildren yet to come,” Gilbert continued.

She ended her caption with a beautiful sentiment, writing, “I’m truly having the best time of my life.” A new grandchild and a new theater production; truly, Melissa Gilbert is living her best life right now.