Saturday, July 05, 2008

Broadway Preview: All My Sons

Broadway Preview: All My Sons

The way recent news reports have been dissecting the upcoming Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's seminal classic All My Sons, you could be forgiven for thinking this was all about Mrs. Tom Cruise. Seems tickets just aren't selling to average Joes the way ticket brokers anticipated.

Indeed, Katie Holmes, who has to her credit earned such dubious honors as an MTV Movie Award and a Razzie Award, is making her much discussed Broadway debut. Alas, she's no Nicole Kidman.

But if you ask me, the real news in this Simon McBurney-helmed revival is that three of the stage's brightest stars are taking on some of the meatiest roles in their careers.

Three-time Tony and four-time Emmy Award winner John Lithgow is taking on the play's shamefully conflicted father Joe Keller. Try as this character might, he's hardly your average Joe. This will mark Lithgow's 20th Main Stem production. I've had the pleasure of seeing Lithgow in a number of roles that demonstrate his incredible range, including his Tony-winning turn as J.J. Hunsecker in the underappreciated dark musical Sweet Smell Of Success (2002); as a detached husband named Edward opposite Eileen Atkins' Alice in The Retreat From Moscow (2003-04); and most recently in his Tony-nominated role as suave con man Lawrence opposite Norbert Leo Butz's Tony-winning turn as Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005-06).

Portraying Joe Keller's wife Kate will be two-time Oscar and one-time Emmy Award winning actress Dianne Wiest, whom I last saw in Estelle Parsons' 2003 Rialto revival of Oscar Wilde's Salome alongside Al Pacino, David Strathairn and Marisa Tomei. All My Sons serves as Wiest's eighth Great White Way production.

Finally, two-time Tony nominee Patrick Wilson will assume the role of Joe and Kate's son Chris. I've seen Wilson tread the Broadway boards in both of his nominated roles: first as Jeff Lukowski in the Americanized musical version of The Full Monty (2001) and then as Curly in the 2002 revival of Oklahoma! All My Sons will be Wilson's fifth credit in a full-fledged Broadway production.

As for the play itself, All My Sons ranks as my personal favorite Arthur Miller work, and certainly would be on my list of all-time favorite stage shows. In fact, when All My Sons was first produced on Broadway sixty-one years ago, Miller won the Tony for Best Author. Helmed by Elia Kazan (who would win the Tony for this work), that production starred Ed Begley, Arthur Kennedy and Karl Malden. That incarnation would run for 328 performances.

The only other time All My Sons was ever revived on Broadway was in 1987 at the John Golden Theatre. Although it would only enjoy 31 regular performances, the production went on to score the Tony for Best Revival of a Play, while its star Richard Kiley also earned a Tony nomination.

Previews for the new revival of All My Sons begin on September 18 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with opening night scheduled for October 16. The limited run is slated to end January 11, 2009. Almost in spite of Katie Holmes, I'm making this revival a priority to see.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Broadway Preview: A Man For All Seasons (July 3, 2008)
Broadway Preview: To Be Or Not To Be (July 2, 2008)
Broadway Preview: The Seagull (July 1, 2008)
Broadway Preview: Equus (June 30, 2008)
Broadway Preview: A Tale Of Two Cities (June 28, 2008)
Broadway Preview: for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf (June 25, 2008)
Broadway Preview: [title of show] (June 24, 2008)
Broadway: What's Next (June 20, 2008)
All My Sons Revival Bound For Broadway (September 7, 2007)
Redford Ready To Return For Right Role? (October 20, 2006)
Flashback: Best of 2002-03 (May 25, 2006)

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At 07 July, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Wow, you've seen these actors in lots of shows! (Except for Katie Holmes, of course).

I know Dianne Wiest from some great Woody Allen movies, so I'd love to see her on stage.

I really only know Arthur Miller from watching the dvd of Death of a Salesman with Dustin Hoffman, John Malkovich, and Stephen Lang. Plus, my high school did The Crucible, so I saw that many years ago. But now that I've seen some classic American musicals, like Gypsy and South Pacific, I'd like to see some classic American plays. And I think seeing "August: Osage County" has also whetted my appetite for some more great drama.

At 08 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, While Death Of A Salesman is arguably Arthur Miller's best known work, I prefer All My Sons. They're both exceptional, but there's just something about the tragedy brought on my dubious morals in All My Sons that hit me like a ton of bricks. I can't wait to see it again.

At 22 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that Danielle Ferland from Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods is set to be in the show too? She is fantastic.


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