Attention Must Be Paid to Arthur Miller on His Centennial Today

News   Attention Must Be Paid to Arthur Miller on His Centennial Today
Theatres from London to Broadway to Michigan are celebrating the centennial of the birth of Arthur Miller, one of the greatest playwrights produced by the United States, on Oct. 17.

Best known for his Pulitzer Prize winner Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, Miller (1915-2005) explored issues of personal responsibility in social settings, family dynamics, and the implications of the American Dream.

Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller

Broadway is planning two Miller revivals this season, A View From the Bridge this fall and The Crucible next spring. A View From the Bridge, about a man's unhealthy fixation on his niece, begins previews Oct. 21 and opens Nov. 12 at the Lyceum Theatre. Directed by Ivo van Hove, the production stars Mark Strong, Nicola Walker, Phoebe Fox, Emun Elliott and Michael Gould.

Ivo van Hove is also scheduled to direct the spring Broadway revival of The Crucible, Miller's allegory about the 1950s anti-communist witch hunt, with the action re-set in the colonial era's real-life witch hunts in Salem, MA. Previews begin Feb. 29, 2016, and opening night is set for April 7 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The production stars Ben Whishaw, Saoirse Ronan, Ciaran Hinds and Sophie Okonedo.

Off-Broadway also has two major revivals coming, Incident at Vichy and Death of a Salesman. Emmy winner Richard Thomas stars in Signature Theatre's revival of Incident at Vichy, about Nazi attempts to learn who among a group of prisoners is Jewish. Previews begin Oct. 27 with an opening night set for Nov. 15 at The Pershing Square Signature Center, located at 480 West 42nd St., Manhattan.

An unusual revival of Death of a Salesman is underway through Nov. 22, being performed entirely in Yiddish. The production is hosted by Castillo Theatre at 543 West 42nd Street in Manhattan. Directed by Moshe Yassur, the production stars Avi Hoffman as Willy Loman, Daniel Kahn as Biff, Shane Baker as Charley and Suzanne Toren as Linda. The 1949 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama tells the story of an aging salesman whose entire world view is built on empty notions of what constitutes success for himself and his two grown sons. The Yiddish translation was written by the late actor Joseph Buloff. Another production of Death of a Salesman—in the original English—is being presented at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in Ohio, with Bruce Cromer as Willy. It runs through Nov. 15.

Meanwhile, London is planning to unveil two rare Miller scripts, "The Hook" and No Villain. David Suchet will star in BBC4's Oct. 17 reading of Miller's film script to the never-produced "The Hook," about corrupt longshoreman union leaders on the New York waterfront, territory he would later explore in "On the Waterfront." "The Hook" was never filmed, reportedly because producers demanded Miller portray the union men as communists.

Old Red Lion Theatre, a pub theatre in Islington, is preparing another Miller rarity, the world premiere of Miller's previously lost first play No Villain, beginning performances Dec. 8 prior to an official opening Dec. 10, for a run through Jan. 9, 2016. The play, which Miller penned for a playwriting contest when he was in college at the University of Michigan, is set in a garment factory.

Speaking of Miller's alma mater, the University of Michigan is taking part in the celebration as well. Students in the Department of Theatre and Dance are performing Miller's first Broadway hit, All My Sons, through Oct. 18 at the school's theatre that bears Miller's name. UM also hosted a three-day symposium titled "Arthur Miller @ Michigan and Beyond."

California's A Noise Within theatre in Pasadena is also presenting All My Sons through Nov. 21, with an opening scheduled for Oct. 17.

TimeLine Theatre in Chicago is presenting Miller's The Price starring Mike Nussbaum through Nov. 22.

Miller's rarely-performed Broken Glass, the drama of a Jewish American woman in the 1930s who becomes obsessed with the Nazis' attack on German Jewish businesses, known as Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass"), runs through Oct. 24 at Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, CT.

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