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Arthur Miller

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]