Miller's Minneapolis Blues Has Broadway Hopes

News   Miller's Minneapolis Blues Has Broadway Hopes The Guthrie Theatre of Minneapolis hopes its production of the new Arthur Miller play, Resurrection Blues, will have a future in New York after its world premiere in September.

The Guthrie Theatre of Minneapolis hopes its production of the new Arthur Miller play, Resurrection Blues, will have a future in New York after its world premiere in September.

The powerhouse Midwestern theatre plans to bring the play to Broadway if all goes well in Minnesota, a spokesman for the Guthrie confirmed. Revered Broadway producer Robert Whitehead would handle the Gotham end of the deal. A representative at Whitehead's office said he "had every intention of bringing the show in," but added that all such plans are always contingent on a very big "if."

Whitehead has a long history with Miller. He produced the original productions of After the Fall and Incident at Vichy, as well as revivals of The Price and Death of a Salesman. His last venture with Miller was the short-lived Broadway mounting of Broken Glass in 1994. Since them, producer David Richenthal has taken up the Miller torch, producing acclaimed revivals of Salesman, The Price and the current The Crucible, starring Liam Neeson.

Whitehead has also often produced plays which star his wife, actress Zoe Caldwell. The most recent such occasion, Terrence McNally's Master Class, was Whitehead's most previous production on Broadway.

* David Esbjornson, who helmed Miller's The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, will direct the new work, characterized as a satiric comedy. Blues will be Miller's first new play since Mr. Peter's Connections bowed at Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre a couple seasons back. Connections ran at the Guthrie in 1999.

(Though Mt. Morgan had its New York debut after Mr. Peter's Connections, the former play was penned years before the latter.)

Resurrection Blues is "a response to the politics of money and economics," Esbjornson told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I guess it questions whether we're beyond salvation."

Esbjornson and James Houghton, the artistic director of the Signature, were instrumental is guiding Miller to the Guthrie. Esbjornson has directed at the Minnesota theatre, most recently Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee, another towering playwright with whom the director has a steady relationship. (Esbjornson is currently shepherding Albee's The Goat on Broadway.) And Houghton is the Guthrie's artistic adviser.

Previously, when speaking about the new play, Miller had said, "I have to decide where to do it first, away from the big time. [New York] is not an atmosphere conducive to creation. The tension is high because there's so much money resting on a poor little play."

No casting has been announced and the remainder of the Guthrie 2002-03 season will not be announced until mid-March.

*

The Guthrie recently announced its 2002-03 season. At a glance, it includes: Mainstage Season:
Resurrection Blues: Aug. 3-Sept. 8
The Comedy of Errors: Sept. 28-Nov. 3
A Christmas Carol: Nov. 16-Dec. 29
Mrs. Warren's Profession: Jan. 11-Feb. 16
Six Degrees of Separation: March 1-April 6
Three Sisters: April 19-May 24

Guthrie Lab:
Good Boys: Aug. 23-Sept. 22
The Chairs: Oct. 25-Nov. 24
Wintertime: Jan. 31-March 2
Top Girls: May 16-June 15

—By Robert Simonson and Andrew Gans