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He Says: Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman Revival on Broadway Overflows with Respect and Relevance



Adding a layer of depth that we didn’t know was needed, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman delivers a punch worthy of its heralded arrival from its award-winning run in London’s West End. The set pieces hang above the stage, signaling the dropping in of dreams, wishes, and nightmares. The visuals floating give a new meaning now that the play has been reworked once again for Broadway. Transferring after its powerful rebirth at the Young Vic Theatre, the production shines a misty light on the memories and arguments that hover in the past, forcing themselves down and forward into the present. The production wisely uncovers all from a new vantage point, that of the Black Man’s experience inside that twisted American Dream that hangs above our collective heads around prosperity and success. The revival shifts this view, elevating and expanding Miller’s vision exponentially, thanks to the inventive craftpersonship of director Miranda Cromwell (Almeida Theatre’s and breathe…) who unpacks an idea that few knew was so essential to the play and our present.

There are very few American works of theatre that sit as high and are so revered as this epic and historic critically honored piece of art that first appeared on Broadway in 1949 in a production directed by Elia Kazan. It won six Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and has received no less than five revivals, three of which won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. This might be the fourth. Some say it is “one of the greatest plays of the 20th century.” But I must admit I went in wondering if I really needed to see another. I mean, over three hours of a play I’ve sat through countless times. It felt like a repeated long haul. Yes. I know. Foolish of me to even have that thought. Foolish of you if you are also having that thought, and following it.

Photo by Joan Marcus

I had no idea that the latest revival which is currently housed at the beautiful Hudson Theatre in New York, would be so meaningful, sharp, and relevant. But as the flashes and shadows of past mistakes shift into focus, that play, about one traveling salesman who is slipping down a rabbit hole of regret and disappointment, finds a new and stellar lease on life, even as the character’s mental foundation sinks below his feet. On a stage, complicated but invigorated by set and co-costume designer Anna Fleischle’s suspended canopy of scenarios, with solid assistance coming from lighting designer Jen Schriever (Broadway’s A Strange Loop), sound designer Mikaal Sulaiman (Broadway’s Thoughts of a Colored Man), composer Femi Temowo, and music coordinator John Miller (Broadway’s Ain’t Too Proud), a guitar player, in the form of musician Kevin Ramessar (Broadway’s Paradise Square), signals the descent of Willy Loman’s grip on sanity and his hold on his American Dream.

As the music strums off into the misty past along with that magical floating doorframe, the play by Arthur Miller (The Crucible; The View from the Bridge), set in a slightly different New York than was first imagined, has found its powerfully complicated soul in the body of Wendell Pierce (Broadway’s Clybourne Park). He stands, weary and worn, and gazes out the window that has floated down to frame him and his loaded-down wife, Linda, beautifully portrayed by the exquisite and strong Sharon D Clarke (Broadway’s Caroline, or Change). The look is deafening and filled with meaning, especially for those who know what is around the corner.

Khris Davis, Wendell Pierce, Sharon D. Clarke, and McKinley Belcher III in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Photo by Joan Marcus, 2022.

With this central character played so strong and damaged as this larger-than-life Black man who worships the American Dream of prosperity through hard work and likeability, the play really does feel reborn with a new prophetic purpose. Pierce’s Willy has held this tight-fisted dream close to his heart with such insistence, as well as pushing it hard on all those around him, that his mind can’t handle all the falsified memories that keep floating in on a crackling laugh from the far reaches of his shattered soul. And in the hands of Pierce, the desperate demented fight is one that we can’t help but slow down and peer at through pained eyes, and with Clarke standing by his side from beginning to end, it’s a crash site worthy of our total respect and admiration.

As the haunting laughter and darkness begin to creep in, and we watch this man realize that he has worked and formulated his whole life around an ideal that has no place for him, his desperation unhinges his hold, shoving him down to his knees with a power that is utterly riveting. As played by Clarke, Linda becomes a force to be reckoned with as she watches him fall hard. She is no longer the submissive wife coddling her husband’s delusional rants, but a woman demanding respect for her man as he loses this hard-fought battle. “Attention must be paid,” she says in that influential moment of the play that we all know so well, but her insistence as she beautifully sings him to sleep midway and at the end adds a crushing weight to an already powerful exploration of a racist world working against a man like Pierce’s Willy Loman.

McKinley Belcher III and Khris Davis in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Photo by Joan Marcus, 2022.

Under the watchful delicate eye of director Cromwell, the destruction of this man’s hold on his foolish dream sits solid, emphasized even more strongly by the portrayal of Willy’s two sons, Biff and Happy. Their exaggerated stances of different distorted aspects of Willy’s dream are magnificently presented inside this dream-filled landscape that floats in from the back and from the heavens. Khris Davis (Broadway/Public’s Sweat) as Biff, and McKinley Belcher III (MCC’s The Light) as Happy, find original and captivating nuances within these usually standardized roles, bringing in tones of blackness that fit the warped roles to perfection. In their very capable hands, the play itself finds a stronger more twisted union within the family circle, signaling a tragic outlying inheritance that will impact them all for the rest of their lives.

As the statuesque version of Biff’s delusional future starts to crumble and shrink down into the floorboards, we also register a pain in Belcher’s Happy that has never felt more complete and understandable. We ache for his desire for acceptance and love, even as we watch him take the warped baton from his father’s shrinking hand, and begin his own journey toward tragedy and unhappiness (you got to just love that Miller named his Happy). The other background players; Blake DeLong (NYTW’s Othello) as Howard/Stanley, Lynn Hawley (Public’s The Gabriels) as The Woman/Jenny, Grace Porter (Public/SITP’s Richard III) as Letta/Jazz Singer, Stephen Stocking (ATC’s Describe the Night) as Bernard, Chelsea Lee Williams (Broadway’s The Girl from the North Country) as Miss Forsythe, and Delaney Williams (HBO’s The Wire) as Charley, fill in the musical and emotional tones of this doomed land with spectacularly detailed portrayals. This Death cup is filled to the brim with talented experts giving it their all.

Sharon D. Clarke, Wendell Pierce, and André De Shields in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Photo by Joan Marcus, 2022.

But it is in Ben Loman, fascinatingly portrayed by the heavenly André De Shields (Broadway’s Hadestown), that shifts the ground under their very feet and pushes it over the edge. De Shields delivers this stunning ghostly presence with such force through smoke and bent whisperings about diamonds and jungle that it almost seems to float up with and around him, blocking out the sun and Willy’s failing hold on his mind. Dressed in sparkling diamond-encrusted white, thanks to co-costume designers Fleicshle (Broadway/West End’s Hangmen) and Sarita Fellows (Public’s A Bright Room Called Day), Ben’s flamboyant dress sparkles in the wasteland of Willy’s delusion, nailing down the lid on any chance that Willy might survive this fall.

It really is a wonder that Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman has never felt so alive and desperate, thanks to director Cromwell, unpacking layers upon layers of social commentary on the Black Person’s lived experience in America. As Pierce’s Willy bends over to pick up a pen dropped by his boss; a young man (DeLong) who looks down on Willy, and his kind, with such oblivious distaste, you can’t help but cringe. You can feel the itch on your skin just how much this young arrogant corporate man detests the situation he finds himself in. Not because of any respect for Willy Loman or his own father for hiring Willy so many years ago, but simply because the moment is messing with his comfortable view of the world. You really get the sense that he just wants Willy to vanish; disappear from his life, so he can get on with enjoying his privileged life and his fun new gadget. It is in that moment that this play solidifies itself as the powerful epic that it is (and maybe always has been), and its strong commentary on the world we live in. This is a production not to be missed, even if I almost stupidly thought about doing just that.

Blake DeLong and Wendell Pierce in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman playing at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre. Photo by Joan Marcus, 2022.

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My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to


Head To The The Algonquin Hotel For Some Holiday Cheer



As we head into the holiday season, The Algonquin Hotel’s December event lineup is open to both hotel guests and New York City locals. The hotel will spread holiday cheer with a variety of festive performances, cocktails, and experiences including:

  • Cocoa and Carols Happy Hour: Daily, 5-8PM, Every evening this December, all are invited to enjoy Specialty Cocoa while Christmas carols chime at the Blue Bar. Drinks will include Mexican Hot Chocolate spiked with mezcal
  • KT Sullivan Cabaret:  December 5th, 12th and 19th, Sullivan will perform her iconic Christmas Cabaret. As noted by The New York Times, Sullivan is a thrilling Off-Broadway performer with over eight published albums
  • Rocco Dellaneve’s Rat Pack Christmas: December 7th, 14th and 21st, Rocco Dellaneve will perform iconic songs from the Rat Pack Christmas album with special inclusions of Santa with Sinatra, Rocco of the Snow, Rudolph and the Rat pack
  • The Serafina’s and Broadway Vocalists: December 8th, 15th and 22nd, enjoy the high kicking – precision line dancing Christmas tradition around The Algonquin tree. The Serafina’s will be available for pictures and autographs from 6pm to 7pm, followed by special Broadway vocalists

A portion of proceeds from all events will be donated to Toys for Tots.

Beyond the December events, The Algonquin Hotel is located in a prime position nestled in the heart of Times Square and Fifth Avenue, making it the perfect launchpad for a New York City holiday experience. The hotel is a historical jewel that emphasizes the importance of making unique, storied experiences. Since its opening in 1902, The Algonquin Hotel is famous for its timeless style and desire to honor the literary and cultural elite. The distinguished Round Table Restaurant and Blue Bar offer tasteful dining inclusions and curated cocktails that are sure to excite everyone.

Photo credit: The Algonquin Hotel, Autograph Collection


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Book Reviews

Countdown to Christmas: For The Dancer and Theatre Lover Chita Rivera



2o days to go! Every year people panic to find the perfect gift. We at T2C have been collecting idea’s all year long to bring you the perfect gift guide at all price levels. When you’re at the end of your rope trying to find the perfect Christmas present this year, come to this guide for some great suggestions.

Chita & Patrick Pacheco at Drama Book Shop event May 15, 2023 Photo by Merle Frimark

There are a lot of books out there this year but we highly recommend Chita: A Memoir , the critically-acclaimed book is written by the legendary Broadway icon Chita Rivera with arts journalist Patrick Pacheco. Chita takes fans behind-the-scenes of all her shows and cabaret acts, she shares candid stories of her many colleagues, friends, and lovers. She speaks with empathy and hindsight of her deep associations with complicated geniuses like Fosse and Robbins, as well as with the mega-talent Liza Minnelli, with whom she co-starred in The Rink. She openly discusses her affair with Sammy Davis, Jr. as well as her marriage to Tony Mordente and her subsequent off-the-radar relationships. Chita revisits the terrible car accident that threatened to end her career as a dancer forever. Center stage to Chita’s story are John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriters and dear friends indelibly tied to her career through some of her most enduring work: Chicago, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Visit.

Chita’s love of performing began as a child in Washington, D.C., when her mother enrolled her in a local ballet school to channel her boundless energy. Still a teenager, she moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet after an audition for George Balanchine himself and winning a scholarship. But Broadway beckoned, and by twenty she was appearing in the choruses of Golden Age shows like Guys and Dolls and Can-Can. In the latter, she received special encouragement from its star Gwen Verdon, forging a personal and professional friendship that would help shape her career. The groundbreaking West Side Story brought her into the orbit of Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Hal Prince, and Stephen Sondheim.  After Bye Bye Birdie further burnished her rising star, she reunited with Verdon and her then-husband Bob Fosse to work on the film version of Sweet Charity and the celebrated original Broadway production of Chicago.

Chita: A Memoir was published in English and Spanish and the English audio version of the Memoir was recorded by Chita.  A Spanish audio version is also available. 

“Chita Rivera blazed a trail where none existed so the rest of us could see a path forward. She has been part of some of the greatest musicals in the history of the form, from Anita in the trailblazing West Side Story through Claire Zachanassian in the underrated masterpiece The Visit, over 60 years later. She is a Puerto Rican Broadway icon and the original ‘triple threat.’ We’re so lucky to be alive in the same timeline as Chita Rivera.” — Lin-Manuel Miranda.

“A frank and fascinating memoir from one of the truly great artists of the American Theater. Lots of stories … Lots of insight … and quite a few caustic statements from Chita’s alter ego, Dolores. An illuminating history and a guaranteed pleasure!” John Kander

Broadway legend and national treasure Chita Rivera, multi-Tony Award winner, Kennedy Center honoree, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – has taken no prisoners on stage or screen for seven decades. From her trailblazing performance as the original Anita in West Side Story—for which she tapped her own Puerto Rican roots—to her haunting 2015 star turn in The Visit. Chita has proven to be much more than just a captivating dancer, singer, and actress beloved by audiences and casts alike. In her equally captivating and one-of-a-kind memoir, Written with Patrick Pacheco, the woman born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero shares an incomparable life, both on stage and behind the curtain.

By the way this Memoir has won a Gold Medal for “Best Autobiography – English” at the 2023 International Latino Book Awards.

Click here to buy your copy.

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Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Spamalot



Here is the amazing cast of Spamalot. Christopher Fitzgerald as Patsy, James Monroe Iglehart as King Arthur, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer as The Lady of the Lake, Ethan Slater as The Historian/Prince Herbert, Jimmy Smagula as Sir Bedevere, Michael Urie as Sir Robin, Nik Walker as Sir Galahad andTaran Killam as Lancelot.

I was so inspired I drew the whole cast.

To read T2C’s review click here.

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Ahead of the Broadway Opening of Lempicka The Longacre Theatre Is Showcasing Art Work By Tamara de Lempicka



The Longacre Theatre (220 W 48th St.), soon-to-be home of the sweeping new musical, Lempicka, is showcasing a curated selection of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka’s most famous works. Eschewing traditional theatrical front-of-house advertising, the Longacre’s façade now boasts prints, creating a museum-quality exhibition right in the heart of Times Square. The musical opens on Broadway on April 14, 2024 at the same venue.

The Longacre’s outdoor exhibition includes works of Self Portrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti) (1929), Young Girl in Green (1927), Nu Adossé I (1925), The Red Tunic (1927), The Blue Scarf (1930), The Green Turban (1930), Portrait of Marjorie Ferry (1932), Portrait of Ira P. (1930), Portrait of Romana de la Salle (1928), and Adam and Eve (1932).

Starring Eden Espinosa and directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, Lempicka features book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, book and music by Matt Gould, and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.

Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.

Young Girl in Green painted by Tamara de Lempicka (1927). Oil on plywood.