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Arthur Miller

The Crucible (Bedlam)

November 25, 2019

As produced by Bedlam in association with The Nora, Arthur Miller’s 1953 tragedy, "The Crucible," based on the Salem Witch Trials proves to be both riveting and relevant all over again. In the past, the play was seen as a cautionary tale about the McCarthy Era witch hunt that destroyed so many lives. Now in 2019 it becomes a story of truth and lies, fiction and fact. One of the judges refers to the situation in Salem as “this swamp.” In the age of Trump, Miller’s play has new meaning for our time. You could hear a pin drop during Eric Tucker’s unfussy production which becomes more and more scary as the Salem witch trials progress and the townspeople become entirely carried away by the hysteria. [more]

The Archbishop’s Ceiling

May 13, 2019

As president of International PEN, the worldwide association of writers, from 1966 – 1969, playwright Arthur Miller moved about Eastern Europe freely and witnessed a great many troubling events concerning writers of all genres. These occurrences led to his writing "The Archbishop’s Ceiling," his most political play, which was presented at the Kennedy Center in 1977. Revised after the failure of this production, it had its world premiere at the Cleveland Playhouse in 1984 but was not picked up for a New York production. Since then it has been seen in London at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1986, Budapest in 1989, Westport, Ct., in 2006 and Denver in 2015. It has finally made it to New York courtesy of Regeneration Theatre in residence at Urban Stages. [more]

All My Sons

April 29, 2019

Unfortunately in a play that is already crammed full of ominous hints, O’Brien’s production is very heavy-handed, underscoring the foreshadowing with a double line under each and every clue and signal of things to come. While the play has been given a most realistic production for the backyard of a house on the outskirts of an Ohio town by set designer Douglas W. Schmidt and costumes by designer Jane Greenwood that are redolent of the late 1949’s, the actors have been allowed to emote from the moment the curtain goes up. If you don’t guess the surprise ending in this production, you haven’t been paying attention. This may be intended to suggest Greek tragedy by the final curtain but there is no need to make it look like an antique production of "Medea," "Electra" or "Oedipus the King" – which would probably be more subtly staged today. [more]

Shareholder Value

March 31, 2019

Attea’s point concerns business models that are overly focused on the needs of shareholders, rather than on those of management and employees. But the play is curiously bloodless. Strong plays about the ferocity of capitalism—from Arthur Miller’s "Death of a Salesman" to David Mamet’s "Glengarry Glen Ross"—take interest in the human equation. They focus on the personal anguish that the system can induce. Attea doesn’t delve that deeply here. [more]

A.R. Gurney’s Memorial at The Music Box

September 13, 2017

Sigourney Weaver, who acted in Gurney’s plays Mrs. Farnsworth and Crazy Mary, periodically appeared onstage with her husband Jim Simpson. Mr. Simpson was the former Artistic Director of The Flea Theater which presented 15 of Gurney’s works. Throughout the celebration the couple reminisced about the writer and recited biographical details about him, while illustrative slides depicting his life were projected. At the conclusion of this portion, in white lettering on a black background, were projected the titles of Gurney’s 48 plays. It was a stark testament to his achievements. [more]

The Price

March 27, 2017

Maybe “fireworks” is too strong a word for a production that is more of a slow burn. The play begins when Mark Ruffalo, as Victor, walks up, into the top floor of the home his family was consigned to, when the Great Depression of 1929 hit and their father lost his fortune. The essence of the conflict between Victor (a policeman) and Walter (a doctor) boils down to economic inequality. (As Walter says to Victor, “It’s very complicated between us.”) Though they both grew up with a chauffeur, the older Walter went on to a successful career while Victor stayed behind to care for their father when everything was lost during the Depression. [more]

2016 Tony Awards Bestow Much Love on “Hamilton”

June 13, 2016

Although "Hamilton" had been nominated for 16 awards in 13 categories, it failed to break the record of Mel Brooks’ "The Producers" which remains the all-time winner with a total of 12. Hamilton took all of the top musical awards including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical (Thomas Kail, previously nominated for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights) except for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical which went to British actress Cynthia Erivo. (Making her Broadway debut, Erivo was reprising her role as Celie Harris in "The Color Purple" from the 2013 Menier Chocolate Factory production re-envisioned by John Doyle.) Star Miranda won his second and third Tonys with his awards for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater and Best Book of a Musical. He previously won for Best Score with his 2008 Broadway musical, In the Heights. [more]

The Crucible

April 20, 2016

Van Hove sets his version in a modern classroom. When the curtain goes up we first see the girls who will later accuse various people in Salem, Massachusetts, of having bewitched them, seated at desks and singing in unison. The curtain descends and then the play begins with Miller’s first scene. Puritan Reverend Samuel Parris has caught his daughter, his niece Abigail Williams, his black servant Tituba, and other girls in the community dancing in the forest around a cauldron, all forbidden behaviors. On seeing him, his daughter Betty has become catatonic. When expert witch hunter Reverend Hale, who has been sent for, questions Tituba, she confesses to communing with the devil, an idea he plants in her mind. [more]

A View from the Bridge

December 23, 2015

Belgian–born director Ivo van Hove has brought his London Young Vic revival of Arthur Miller’s" A View from the Bridge" to Broadway in a production so stripped down to its essentials that it seem to reinvent theater as well as this play. The minimalist director already known in NYC for his seven stagings at the New York Theater Workshop (including "The Little Foxes" and "Scenes from a Marriage") and his five at Brooklyn Academy of Music (including "Angels in America" and "Antigone") has reduced the cast list from 15 to eight, eliminated scenery and props, has the actors go barefoot, and has washed out almost all color from the stage. The result once the plot is wound up has hypnotic power that is rarely seen in our theater. The cast led by British stage star Mark Strong as protagonist Eddie Carbone includes five of the actors from the London production, as well as British stage and screen star Russell Tovey. [more]

Incident at Vichy

November 28, 2015

Arthur Miller is having a great posthumous 100th birthday! "A View from a Bridge" opened on Broadway to sensational reviews to be followed soon by "The Crucible." Now a revival of "Incident at Vichy," his frightening, microcosmic examination of Nazi-occupied France during the height of World War II, is enjoying a fine revival at the Signature Theatre. While the first two plays are each experiencing radical re-assessments, the director of Vichy, Michael Wilson has opted for a straight-forward, naturalistic interpretation in which each character exists as a finely etched portrait and the set (by Jeff Cowie) is a real, frightening place down to the period French newspapers plastering the holes in the windows. [more]

Death of a Salesman in Yiddish

October 19, 2015

Although Arthur Miller grew up in a Jewish family, none of his characters with the exception of the antique dealer in The Price are explicitly Jewish. Yiddish stage star Joseph Buloff sought to correct that when he adapted "Death of a Salesman" as "Toyt fun a Seylsman" and presented the play in Argentina in 1949. In 1951, Miller permitted Buloff to bring the translation to Brooklyn’s Parkway Theatre where it was deemed a great success. Not seen again in New York until now, New Yiddish Rep is giving the Yiddish adaptation its Manhattan premiere in a slightly revised version in which the non-Jewish characters speak in English and the text is projected with English supertitles for a contemporary audience that does not know Yiddish. [more]

Judith & Vinegar Tom

July 21, 2015

For PTP/NYC (Potomac Theatre Project)’s 29th season they have chosen to pair one-acts by two of their favorite playwrights, Howard Barker and Caryl Churchill, who are also among Britain’s leading dramatic authors but who are not seen here as much as they ought to be. At first glance, the two plays could not be more different, but on closer examination they deal with similar themes, particular as both have strong historical women as their central characters, and offer modern sensibilities on ancient themes. As an addition to the more familiar work of these acclaimed contemporary writers, this makes a fascinating evening for those who follow British drama. [more]