Attention Must Be Paid: DC Arthur Miller Fest Begins March 14 With Salesman

News   Attention Must Be Paid: DC Arthur Miller Fest Begins March 14 With Salesman
 
A new Arena Stage production of Death of a Salesman, beginning previews March 14, launches the Washington, DC, company's Arthur Miller Festival, boasting two Miller plays in repertory and featuring major names from the resident theatre community there.
Rick Foucheux as Willy Loman.
Rick Foucheux as Willy Loman. Photo by Scott Suchman

Death of a Salesman, starring Helen Hayes Award winner Rick Foucheux as Willy Loman, and A View From the Bridge, starring Delaney Williams (HBO's "The Wire") as longshoreman Eddie Carbone (starting March 21), will play in repertory though May 18.

The Arthur Miller Festival productions appear at Arena Stage in Crystal City in Arlington, VA — the DC troupe's temporary location during the 29-month renovation of its main facility in Southwest, DC.

In addition to the two full productions, Arena will offer Monday evening readings, screenings and lectures exploring Miller's other work.

Timothy Bond directs Death of a Salesman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece about Willy Loman, who "has made his living riding on a smile and a shoeshine," according to Arena. "While chasing his elusive American Dream, he has put unrelenting pressure on his sons to achieve at all costs. Faced with the end of his career, he's haunted by missed opportunities and a troubled past. As the truth unravels, wife Linda struggles to help her increasingly desperate husband."

Opening is April 3. Nancy Robinette is Linda, Jeremy S. Holm is Biff, Tim Getman is Happy, Louis Cancelmi is Bernard, Naomi Jacobson is The Woman, Noble Shropshire is Charley, J. Fred Shiffman is Uncle Ben, Stephen F. Schmidt is Howard Wagner, Tara Giordano is Jenny/Secretary/Letta, Cliff Williams III is Stanley and Virginia Kull is Miss Forsythe. *

Daniel Aukin directs A View From the Bridge, a "passionate drama about Italian-American immigrant life in the 1950s" that "also examines the promise — and failure — of the American Dream," according to Arena. "Brooklyn longshoreman Eddie Carbone lives in a tight-knit Italian neighborhood with his wife Beatrice and orphaned niece Catherine, whose emerging independence and womanhood disturb him. When two of Beatrice's impoverished Sicilian cousins enter the country illegally, Catherine falls in love with one of them and agrees to marry. As he desperately tries to keep his family from unraveling, Eddie's feelings for his niece turn into an obsession he can neither understand nor acknowledge. His actions have far-reaching effects in the community and lead to a climatic confrontation in a tale of love, betrayal and revenge."

Opening is April 4. Rick Foucheux is Louis, Tim Getman is Mike, Noble Shropshire is Alferi, Virginia Kull is Catherine, Naomi Jacobson is Beatrice, Louis Cancelmi is Marco, Jeremy S. Holm is Tony, David Agranov is Rodolpho, J. Fred Shiffman is Mr. Lipari, Nancy Robinette is Mrs. Lipari, Tara Giordano is part of the ensemble, Stephen F. Schmidt is 1st Immigration Officer, Cliff Williams III is 2nd Immigration Officer and Jeremy S. Holm is 1st Submarine.

Arena artistic director Molly Smith brings true rotating repertory programming back to the company after a 17-year hiatus. Arena Stage first presented plays in repertory in 1968, and continued it until founding artistic director Zelda Fichandler's last season in 1990.

Smith stated, "About a year and a half ago, we began talking about the idea of focusing on a great American writer, an American giant. We started looking at this as something that we might do regularly, presenting plays in repertory and really allowing ourselves to have a hard focus on someone who speaks powerfully about America. With the Arthur Miller Festival, audiences will have the opportunity to see two towering classics of American theater presented in true repertory style. Imagine being able to see Death of a Salesman and A View from the Bridge on the same day with one incredible company of actors."

(Arena has done Death of a Salesman in rep before. In October 1974, Fichandler directed it in repertory with two other productions. Of it, Arthur Miller wrote, "I saw [Zelda Fichandler's] production with Bob Prosky back in 1974 and it was unforgettable, first-class." The production returned to Arena in 1976 after receiving international acclaim and was again presented in repertory, featuring the same acting company Miller praised.)

In November 1956, Arena Stage produced the American premiere of A View From the Bridge in its expanded two-act version, which is the version that is still read and produced today. This original production of the play at Arena Stage was directed by Alan Schneider, the major American director who staged several productions at Arena over the course of 27 years (1952-1979).

The plays of Miller (1915-2005) include All My Sons, The Crucible, A Memory of Two Mondays, After the Fall, Incident at Vichy, The Price, The Creation of the World and Other Business and The American Clock.

Director Bond is currently serving as the new producing artistic director of Syracuse Stage. Director Aukin was artistic director of Soho Rep from 1999 to 2006.

The productions' creative team includes Loy Arcenas (set designer), Laurie Churba Kohn (costume designer), Nancy Schertler (lighting designer), Michael Keck (composer), Bettie O. Rogers (hair and wig designer), Mark Bly (production ddramaturg). Stage manager for both productions is Sue White; assistant stage managers are Amber Dickerson and Angelita Thomas.

For more information, visit www.arenastage.org. Arena at Crystal City is located at 1800 S. Bell Street, Arlington, VA. The box office phone number is (202) 488-3300.

Tim Getman, Rick Foucheux and Jeremy S. Holmin <i>Death of a Salesman.</i>
Tim Getman, Rick Foucheux and Jeremy S. Holmin Death of a Salesman. Photo by Scott Suchman
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