All My Sons’ Annette Bening Says There Are Clues to Her Character Hidden in the Broadway Set

Opening Night   All My Sons’ Annette Bening Says There Are Clues to Her Character Hidden in the Broadway Set
 
Bening, Tracy Letts, Benjamin Walker, and the full cast of the current Broadway revival share secrets about the production from the opening night red carpet.
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Annette Bening Marc J. Franklin

The latest Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons packs a whallop—and not just in the famous onstage fight. Director Jack O’Brien’s new mounting stars powerhouse performers Tracy Letts (a Tony-winning playwright and actor), four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening, and Drama Desk nominee Benjamin Walker as three pillars of the Keller family.

Set in Ohio 1947, the play begins the night after a big storm. Chris (Walker) back at his parents house after the war is the son who returned home; Larry is still missing. As the Kellers and all the neighbors mosey in and out of the backyard, Douglas Schmidt’s set appears to hold as much meaning as Miller’s words—and Bening confirmed as much when she stepped on the opening night red carpet April 22.

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“There’s a calendar on the wall that has a picture of an Eagle scout and there's a little pamphlet on the wall about certainty and God, which is another theme that runs through [the play],” Bening revealed. “I love the set. We all feel very comfortable there. I know the Midwest and I know the backyards of those houses and it feels to me very real.”

Jenni Barber, who plays one of the Keller’s neighbors, said that the inside of the house reminds her of the Ohio home she grew up in—same china patterns and all. (Hear more about scenic secrets in the video above.)

Playbill also greeted Letts, the Pulitzer Prize– and Tony Award-winning playwright behind August: Osage County. He won an acting Tony for his portrayal of George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He spoke about playing the patriarch of the family, what it means to manipulate a fellow actor (in character) onstage, and playing dad to Walker.

Walker expressed his gratitude to be a part of the “exquisite” play, and relishing playing son to Letts and Bening’s Joe and Kate Keller. “What I love about Annette—don’t look her in the eyes because it's like a vacuum. It just sucks you to 1947 whether you like it or not. That's really liberating and also horrifying. She kind of has that and I love it. I love to be scared.”

Watch the full livestream from the opening night red carpet with additional interviews from Francesca Carpanini, Hampton Fluker, Michael Hayden, Nehal Joshi, and Chinasa Ogbuagu.

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