Symposium on All My Sons

By Abbotson, Susan C. W. | The Arthur Miller Journal, Autumn 2019 | Go to article overview

Symposium on All My Sons


Abbotson, Susan C. W., The Arthur Miller Journal


Symposium on All My Sons

All My Sons

Roundabout Theater Company

American Airlines Theater

New York, NY

4 April-30 June 2019

Directed by Jack O'Brien

A Symposium

[Editor's Note: Once again, All My Sons has been given a Broadway showing, its third revival since its 1947 premier. The most recent was in 2008, directed by Simon McBurney, with John Lithgow and Dianne West in a production that some found problematic largely due to its staging. Stephen Marino's review gives more detail about these past productions. Roundabout Theatre is no stranger to Miller's work, having produced excellent revivals of A View From a Bridge (1997), The Man Who Had All the Luck (2002), After the Fall (2004), and, most recently, The Price (2017). They will be following this production of All My Sons with Tennessee Williams's The Rose Tattoo in the fall (their first revival of a play by Williams since 1996). The Journal sent a variety of reviewers to check out Roundabout's production of All My Sons at the American Airlines Theatre and to share their thoughts and responses. Marino describes a deftly directed, strongly acted piece that presents an effective father-son conflict between Joe and Chris, but also brought out the underlying strengths of both Kate and Ann. Toby Zinman-less enamored of Benjamin Walker's Chris, and uncomfortable about the relationship between Joe and Ann-emphasizes the strong contemporary relevance. Impressed by O'Brien's astute direction, and inspired to rethink the motivation behind several of the characters' speeches and actions, David Palmer expands his impression of the production into an intriguing and extended debate regarding morality, human fallibility, and the ways in which the war experience can impact a family. Meantime, James Moran focuses in on the internal psychology of Chris, struggling to free himself of his familial expectations, and Jan Balakian focuses on the symbolism of the play's design. The fact that our reviewers went in so many different directions is testament to the depth of this production and the complexity of its performances. It was nominated for three Tony Awards-Annette Bening as Best Actress for her portrayal of Kate, Benjamin Walker as Best Actor in a Featured Role for Chris, and Best Revival of a Play. It did not win any of these, but it certainly won the attention of all those who saw it.]

-Susan C. W Abbotson

Performance Review Editor

All My Sons

Roundabout Theatre Company

American Airlines Theatre

New York, NY

4 April-30 June 2019

Directed by Jack O'Brien

REVIEWED BY STEPHEN MARINO, ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE

DOI: 10.5325/arthmillj.14.2.0141

Arthur Miller's first Broadway hit, All My Sons, is one of his most frequently produced plays among worldwide professional theater companies, American community theaters, and college and university theater departments. Surprisingly, since its premiere the World War II drama has had only two Broadway revivals. The 1947 debut, which starred Ed Begley, Beth Merrill, Arthur Kennedy, and Karl Malden, won Tonys for Miller for Best Play (over A Streetcar Named Desire) and Elia Kazan for Best Director. The first Broadway revival in 1987, directed by Arvin Brown, won the Tony for Best Revival, and a 2008 avant-garde production, directed by Simon McBurney, starred John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Patrick Wilson, and Katie Holmes in her Broadway debut. New York's acclaimed Roundabout Theatre offered two off-Broadway productions of All My Sons in 1974 and 1997. Luckily for 2019 theatergoers, the company decided to mount a major Broadway revival at its American Airlines venue on Forty-Second Street, which in recent years has housed other Miller plays, such as The Man Who Had All the Luck, After the Fall, and The Price.

All My Sons' third Broadway revival was announced with great fanfare because the cast is loaded with star power: Tracy Letts as Joe Keller, Annette Bening as Kate Keller, and Benjamin Walker as Chris Keller. …

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