Producer David Richenthal has a hit with the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, but now he's hoping audiences will pay to see Arthur Miller's "underrated" sibling drama, The Price, on Broadway.
The recent August staging of The Price, directed by James Naughton at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, will begin Broadway performances Oct. 29, toward a Nov. 9 opening, at the Royale Theatre.
Producer Richenthal said the staging he saw at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts was so tight that it prompted him to take on the idea of Broadway remount as the sole producer (a Broadway rarity).
"This is a hugely underrated play of Arthur's," Richenthal told Playbill On Line Sept. 21. "It's in the family of Salesman and View From the Bridge and All My Sons. What it needs is to be played by a string quartet otherwise it doesn't sing."
At Williamstown, under the direction of James Naughton, "it sang," he said, and he expects the same at the Royale, where the small-cast Art was a hit. Richenthal confirmed that the same designers for the Williamstown Festival staging are being used for the remount. The Williamstown revival of Miller's four-character 1967 drama about two brothers reuniting to root through their dead father's belongings (in an attic) played the Main Stage of the Massachusetts fest Aug. 18-29.
The play deals in Miller's strong suit: Shuffling through the emotional detritus of sibling rivalry and familial bitterness. When the siblings reunite, the poor-policeman brother who stayed attached to the family upbraids his rich-doctor brother, who abandoned their father.
Richenthal is one of the producers of Broadway's current Death of a Salesman, which will close Nov. 7 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, two days before The Price opens.
Jeffrey DeMunn, Bob Dishy, Lizbeth Mackay and Harris Yulin will reprise their seasonal roles for Broadway. The plan is for a run of at least six months (the initial contract length), Richentahl said.
The play's examination of siblings in relation to their lost parents is one of the factors that attracted Richenthal: "I do have siblings," he said, "and this does for siblings what Salesman does for fathers and sons, although this play also speaks to parenting..."
Recreating their festival designs for Broadway are Michael Brown (set), Laurie Churba (costume), Rui Rita (lighting) and Jerry Yager (sound).
The previous Broadway revival of The Price was staged by the Roundabout Theatre Company (at the Criterion Center) in 1992-93. Directed by John Tillinger, it starred Hector Elizondo, Eli Wallach, Debra Mooney and Joe Spano. It was nominated for the Best Revival Tony Award.
Pat Hingle and Arthur Kennedy played the brothers in the Broadway original in the 1967-68 season. Miller was nominated for a 1968 Tony Award for his play, but the prize went to Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.