By Kenneth Jones
15 Nov 1999
The summer revival of Arthur Miller's The Price at the Williamstown Theatre Festival officially opens its autumn run at Broadway's Royale Theatre Nov. 15.
The 1967 tale of two brothers rooting through their dead father's belongings -- and kicking up emotional dust -- began previews Oct. 29, directed by James Naughton, repeating his Williamstown duties. The actor-director's other current project is starring in Arthur Kopit's Y2K, for Manhattan Theatre Club at the Lucille Lortel Theatre Off Broadway.
The play deals in Miller's strong suit: Shuffling through the emotional detritus of sibling rivalry, responsibility and familial bitterness. When the siblings reunite, the poor-policeman brother, Victor (DeMunn), who stayed attached to the family, upbraids his rich-doctor brother (Yulin), who abandoned their father. Dishy plays an aged furniture dealer, Mackay is Victor's wife.
Producer David Richenthal said the staging he saw at the Williamstown Festival was so tight that it prompted him to take on the idea of Broadway remount as the sole producer (a Broadway rarity). The small-cast play is at the same theatre where the three-actor Art was a hit for two seasons.
"This is a hugely underrated play of Arthur's," Richenthal told Playbill On Line. "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."
Recreating their festival designs for Broadway are Michael Brown (set), Laurie Churba (costume), Rui Rita (lighting) and Jerry Yager (sound).
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.
The plan for The Price is a run of at least six months (the initial contract length), Richentahl said.
The Williamstown revival of Miller's play ran Aug. 18-29 at the fest's Main Stage.
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..."
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.