Crucible Exorcised from Broadway's Virginia Theatre June 8

By Robert Simonson
June 8, 2002

The acclaimed Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, which has bewitched the Virginia Theatre since Feb. 16, will end its limited run as scheduled on June 8. Liam Neeson and Laura Linney star as fiery farmer John Proctor and his prudish wife Elizabeth in Richard Eyre's production, which officially opened March 7.

The acclaimed Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, which has bewitched the Virginia Theatre since Feb. 16, will end its limited run as scheduled on June 8. Liam Neeson and Laura Linney star as fiery farmer John Proctor and his prudish wife Elizabeth in Richard Eyre's production, which officially opened March 7.

An extra performance on June 9 will benefit the Actors' Fund.

The Crucible was nominated for several Tony Awards—including nods for Eyre, Neeson and Linney, as well as a nom for Best Revival of a Play—but won none. It did, however, claim Drama League Awards for Best Revival of the Year and Distinguished Performance of the Year for Neeson.

Head producer David Richenthal told Playbill On-Line that the show would likely recoup its investment, though the end figure might depend on the box office take during the show's final week.

The Crucible, written in reaction to the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s and based in part on historical fact, tells of leaders in puritanical Salem overreacting to a rash of phony witchcraft in its young women. Miller is also the author of Death of a Salesman, A View From the Bridge, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, The Price and The Man Who Had All The Luck (currently being presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company).

Broadway veterans in the supporting cast include Brian Murray (currently in Hobson's Choice) as the imperious Deputy Governor Danforth, Tom Aldredge (1776) as stubborn farmer Giles Corey, John Benjamin Hickey (Love! Valour! Compassion!) as the questioning Reverend John Hale, and Christopher Evan Welch (London Assurance, the recent Off-Bway Othello) as vain and vindictive Reverend Parris.

Also in the cast are J.R. Horne, Paul O'Brien, Jeanne Paulsen, Jennifer Carpenter as Mary Warren, Henry Stram (Unwrap Your Candy, Titanic), Patrice Johnson as Tituba, Jack Willis, Frank Raiter, Dale Soules (The Magic Show), Helen Stenborg (Waiting in the Wings) as Rebecca Nurse, Kristen Bell, Laura Breckenridge, Betsy Hogg, Sevrin Anne Mason and Stephen Lee Anderson. Angela Bettis (The Father, opposite Frank Langella) plays scheming Abigail.

Neeson last appeared on the New York stage as Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss. Primarily a film actor, he starred in "Star Wars: Episode I" and "Episode II," "Michael Collins," "Les Miserables," "Rob Roy" and "Schindler's List," for which he was nominated for an Academy Award.

Actress Linney has been a common fixture on the New York stage since first attracting attention as Nina in a modernized downtown Seagull and playing an aggressive German journalist in Donald Margulies' Sight Unseen. But her currency as an actress increased manyfold last year due to her many-faceted, Oscar-nominated performance as a single mom dealing with a wastrel brother in Kenneth Lonergan's film "You Can Count on Me." Linney's most recent stage turn was as Yelena in the Roundabout Theatre Company's Uncle Vanya on Broadway. She has also appeared on Broadway in Holiday and The Seagull (as Nina).

Director Eyre, former head of the UK's Royal National Theatre, recently wrote a book and created a TV miniseries about 20th century Western theatre. His previous Broadway outings include Amy's View and Skylight.

Designing The Crucible are Paul Gallo (lighting), Tim Hatley (sets and costumes) and Scott Myers (sound), with David Van Tieghem providing original music.

The production boasts a lineup of producers longer than the second act: David Richental, Manocherian/Level/Boyett, Max Cooper, Allan S. Gordon, Roy Furman, U.S. Productions, Elan V. McAllister, Adam Epstein and Margo Lion, in association with Dede Harris/Mort Swinsky, Clear Channel Entertainment, Old Ivy Productions, Jeffrey Ash, Berinstein/Selig, Golden/Skipper, Gene Korf and Robert Cole, all by special arrangement with The Roundabout Theatre Company. Eric Falkenstein and Toby Simkin are the associate producers.

For tickets and information on The Crucible at the Virginia Theater, 245 West 52nd St., call (212) 239-6200.