Death Of A Salesman: The Times They Are A-Changin’
It seems these days directors on Broadway don’t trust their actors or the audience. Instead, they use gimmicks, odd set and lighting choices to take away from the brilliant acting that is going on in front of the audiences. This is the case in the newest revival of Death of a Salesman, now playing at the Hudson Theatre.
The Loman family is now African American with Willy’s (Wendell Pierce) boss Howard (Blake DeLong), Charley (Delaney Williams), Willy’s wisecracking neighbor who lends him money, Bernard (Stephen Stocking), Charley’s successful son and the women (Lynn Hawley) Willy cheats on his wife with, all white. The racial subtext speaks loudly and clearly without changing the text and this makes for an interesting evening.
The themes of this drama are lost dreams, fantasy vs reality and facing up to the truth. In the end Willie, his wife Linda (Sharon D Clarke) and his son Happy (McKinley Belcher III) fail to understand. Only Biff (Khris Davis) can except his failure and move past it.
Willie’s dreams and love are for his eldest son Biff, a high school football star. When he fails math his senior year and catches his father in adultery, Biff heads west to be a farm hand and to be happy. In the end Biff faces up to his short comings and tries to enlighten his father, who cannot except reality.
Happy has lived in the shadow of his older brother, to the point of being ignored, but he still wants his father’s love. Unable to achieve that, he turns to women. Constantly looking for approval from his parents, he makes things up. Even in the end he cannot face or tell the truth.
In both of these portrayals, for the first time, I felt the characters’ longing to be seen and heard.
As Linda, Sharon D Clarke is loving, supportive and a little one note. I would have liked to have seen more fight, but she does manage to make us feel.
Wendell Pierce’s Willie is so self-deluded that his descent into madness is childlike and manic. The flashbacks feel as if they are in real time. We see a man whose dream was simple; be accepted, respected and successful, yet he never stood a chance, possibly because he wasn’t taught.
I adore André De Shields, who plays the ghost of Willy’s older brother Ben. However, his direction and costume seem like he came from another production.
For a show that is 3 hours and 10 minutes long, why add music? There has always been incidental music, however since the play takes place in 1949 Brooklyn, the music sound like from another era and another state. It is truly odd to have a character or characters in this play belt out a melody after a phenomenally written monologue..
The lighting by Jen Schriever is dreamy and the set by Anna Fleischle is suspended in the air feeling like the production of The Glass Menagerie starring Sally Fields.
It would have been nice if director Miranda Cromwell trusted her actors and the play just a little bit more. Arthur Miller’s words are so profound and yet he has been getting the shaft with Ivo von Hove and the other directors who don’t trust the text.
Death of a Salesman:3 hours and 10 minutes with one intermission. At the Hudson Theatre, 141 West 44th Street, until January 15, 2023
League of Professional Theatre Women’s 10th Annual Women Stage The World March
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) will hold its 10th Annual “Women Stage the World March” — a Suffragette-inspired project to educate the public about the role of women in the theatre industry — on Saturday, June 17. The march will begin at noon, at Shubert Alley and weave through Times Square and the Broadway Theatre District, wrapping up at about 2 p.m.
“The event is FREE and LPTW invites all theatre women and allies to join us as we increase awareness, lift our voices, and advocate for more opportunities for women in theatre,” said Ludovica Villar-Hauser, Co-President of LPTW.
“The Women Stage the World March is designed to educate the public about the role women play in creating theatre and the barriers they face as men continue to outnumber women by 4 to 1 in key roles such as playwright, director and designers. Women buy 67% of the tickets and represent 65% of the audience, yet 80% of the storytelling on stage is shaped by men’s voices,” said Katrin Hilbe, Co-President of LPTW.
Handouts during the March will prompt ticket-buyers to ask three questions as they make buying decisions: (1) Who wrote, directed and designed this play? (2) What is this theatre’s track record in giving opportunities to women? (3) How can you spread the word and promote women’s voices?
“All participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite historical theatre woman, or dress all in white. March participants will gather at Shubert Alley starting at 11:30 AM, in preparation for the start of the march at noon. Women Stage the World sashes and signs will be provided, as supplies last,” noted Penelope Deen, LPTW member and organizer of the event. Those interested in participating in the event please R.S.V.P. at: https://www.theatrewomen.org/women-stage-the-world or contact Penelope Deen at: Womenstagetheworld@Theatrewomen.org
LPTW Co-President Ludovica Villar-Hauser added: “The League of Professional Theatre Women stands alongside the Writers Guild of America (WGA) as they demand fair wages and take action to ensure more protections for artists. We encourage LPTW members to find a time to join the WGA on the picket lines this month as the strike continues. Women writers are the future of the film and television industry, just as they lead the way in theatre. LPTW supports the women on the frontlines of this movement as they call for long overdue change. We are stronger together.”
For the past 10 years LPTW members, affiliated union members, theatre artists and their allies have hit the streets in a March reminiscent of the Suffragette parades of the early 20th Century, with some marchers dressed in traditional suffrage garb and colors. Like the Suffragettes before them, participants in the Women Stage the World March empower women and men to become aware, take action and influence others.
The League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) is a membership organization championing women in theatre and advocating for increased equity and access for all theatre women. Our programs and initiatives create community, cultivate leadership, and increase opportunities and recognition for women working in theatre. The organization provides support, networking and collaboration mechanisms for members, and offers professional development and educational opportunities for all theatre women and the general public. LPTW celebrates the historic contributions and contemporary achievements of women in theatre, both nationally and around the globe, and advocates for parity in employment, compensation and recognition for women theatre practitioners through industry-wide initiatives and public policy proposals. LPTW is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Chicago
John Kander & Fred Ebb / Bob Fosse musical Chicago is now the longest running show playing on Broadway. Having played 10,338 performances, Chicago is the Tony Award-winning, record-breaking hit musical playing at the Ambassador Theatre, 219 W. 49th St., NYC.
Ham4Ham: Some Like It Hot, Parade and Shucked With Special Guests
Lin-Manuel Miranda brought out a. special edition of Ham4Ham outside the Richard Rodgers Theater yesterday and it was a star studded afternoon.
First up Leopoldstadt stars Josh Molina and Brandon Uranowitz introduced Some Like It Hot‘s J. Harrison Ghee, who performed “You Coulda Knocked Me Over With a Feather” accompanied by the show’s composer, Marc Shaiman. You can watch the beginning of this and the whole performance of that song here.
Then Nikki Crawford and playwright James Ijames from Fat Ham, introduced composer Jason Robert Brown and performers Ben Platt and Michaela Diamond who perform the duet “This Is Not Over Yet” from the must see revival of Parade.
The Thanksgiving Play stars D’Arcy Carden and Chris Sullivan introduced book writer Robert Horn and the Tony-nominated cast of Shucked recreated new lyrics for “We Love Jesus” and a parody of Hamilton‘s “The Story of Tonight.”led by Ashley D. Kelley, Grey Henson, Andrew Durand and Kevin Cahoon
This was a spectacular afternoon that can only be had in NYC.
T2c would love to thank these three ladies who gave us a chair to sit on.
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 2
Yesterday the 72nd Annual Awards honoring achievements in the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway season were presented at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
Here are highlights from the show.
Outstanding New Score: Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman – Some Like It Hot
T2c interviewed the fantastic duo.
Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Bill Irwin –Endgame
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Alex Newell – Shucked
Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: J. Harrison Ghee
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play: Brandon Uranowitz – Leopoldstadt
T2c talked to this amazing performer before the ceremony.
Special Achievement Award:To B.H. Barry, one of the world’s foremost fight directors.
Outstanding New Broadway Play: Leopoldstadt and Outstanding Director of a Play:Patrick Marber – Leopoldstadt
Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Some Like It Hot Robert E. Wankel and Neil Meron
Broadway’s Samantha Pauly and Reeve Carney Come To Chelsea Table and Stage
On May 29th catch Samantha Pauly for Memorial Day. Best known for originating the role of Katherine Howard in Broadway’s smash hit SIX the Musical, and her captivating performance as Eva Peron in Jamie Lloyd’s critically acclaimed revival of Evita on London’s West End, Samantha Pauly has carefully crafted an evening that reflects the last few years of her life. Join this Grammy nominee and Drama Desk Award winner as she revisits some career highlights, Broadway classics, pop/rock favorites, and all the fun stuff in between.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and actor Reeve Carneyreturns to Chelsea Table + Stage June 4th to perform a night of music honoring the artistry of the legendary rock n’ roll supergroup Led Zeppelin. Carney is best known for his portrayal of Dorian Grayin on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, Riff Raff in Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show Reimagining, as well as originating the role of Peter Parker in Julie Taymor/U2’s Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark. He is currently starring in the Broadway blockbuster, Hadestown. Reeve Carney delivers a one-man-show cabaret that feels more like an invitation-only after-party than a traditional concert performance. Don’t miss this special performance from one of Broadway’s leading actors!
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