2019 is set to be a vintage year for American playwright Arthur Miller, as a plethora of his plays are to be performed in London over the coming year. Alongside Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill, Miller and his contemporaries are considered to be the giants of American theatre, with their plays consistently performed year after year around the world. That said, 2019 offers a chance to see Miller’s work in major new productions, delivered by some of the best producing theatres that London has to offer.
DEATH OF A SALESMAN (THE YOUNG VIC)
DEATH OF A SALESMAN is considered by many to be the greatest American play of all time, and rightly so. DEATH OF A SALESMAN is an incredible, intimate portrait of a man on the brink of collapse. The piece follows Willy Loman, a travelling salesman and father who has seen his career and family fall apart around him. Played through a series of flashbacks, over the evening we see the true tragedy of a man just trying to do good in America.
Marianne Elliott, director of acclaimed hits like WAR HORSE, CURIOUS INCIDENT and ANGELS IN AMERICA, takes the reigns of this upcoming revival alongside Miranda Cromwell at Waterloo’s Young Vic. They have created a unique vision for this production, reimagining it through the eyes of an African-American family. Elliott and Cromwell have assembled an incredible cast to lead this piece. Wendell Pierce, star of TV shows The Wire and Suits, makes his UK stage debut to take on the iconic role of Willy Loman. Multiple time Olivier Award Winner Sharon D Clarke, who can currently be seen leading CAROLINE, OR CHANGE in the West End, will play Willy’s wife, Linda Loman. Meanwhile, Arinzé Kene, star of MISTY and GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY in the West End, will play Willy’s son Biff.
DEATH OF A SALESMAN runs from 1st May to 29th June.
THE AMERICAN CLOCK (THE OLD VIC)
Mere minutes down the road from the Young Vic, the Old Vic is presenting a Miller celebration of their own, presenting a double-bill of the playwrights works. This begins in February, as the theatre presents a rare chance to see a revival of Miller’s oft overlooked play, THE AMERICAN CLOCK. Written in 1980, THE AMERICAN CLOCK is Miller’s retrospective look at 1930s America during the Great Depression. It centres on the Baums a wealthy family who lose their fortune during the Depression and how they try to rebuild their lives. The play also offers a kaleidoscopic look at America during this period, moving around the nation from New York to Iowa to New Orleans and more, looking at the lives and livelihoods of a country in financial peril.
American director Rachel Chavkin, whose work includes HADESTOWN and THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 on Broadway, brings her stylish vision to this Old Vic production. Chavkin has found an impressive ensemble cast to bring the work to life with names like John Marquez, Clare Burt, Josie Walker and more taking on Miller’s characters. This revival offers a rare opportunity to see one of Miller’s lesser performed plays in a mega production, and for any fan of American drama, shouldn’t be missed.
THE AMERICAN CLOCK runs from 4th February to 30th March.
ALL MY SONS (THE OLD VIC)
Immediately following THE AMERICAN CLOCK, The Old Vic partners with acclaimed company Headlong to present an Arthur Miller favourite, ALL MY SONS. Premiering in 1947, ALL MY SONS follows the Keller family, a true success story in America, building a home, raising a family and running a thriving business. Their contended lives become shattered after not only losing their eldest son to the war, but buried secrets about their success are raised with the arrival of a figure from the past. In true Miller fashion, ALL MY SONS offers a criticism of the American dream and what it takes to make it in America.
Jeremy Herrin, who successes include PEOPLE, PLACES AND THINGS in the West End, directs an all star revival. Americans Bill Pullman, star of Independence Day and Sally Field, star of Steel Magnolias and Forrest Gump, lead the cast as Joe and Kate Keller. They are joined by British actors Jenna Coleman (Queen Victoria and Doctor Who) in her stage debut and Colin Morgan (Merlin and TRANSLATIONS at the National Theatre). The production will also be broadcast to cinemas across the UK on 14th May.
ALL MY SONS runs from 15th April to 8th June.
THE PRICE (WYNDHAM’S THEATRE)
Miller will also see a run in the West End with his acclaimed play THE PRICE transferring from Theatre Royal Bath to London’s Wyndham’s Theatre. THE PRICE follows the aftermath of the Great Depression where Victor Franz, a young man whose intelligence would guarantee an incredibly bright future is forced to give up going to college to support his father. 30 years later, Franz, now a police sergeant approaching his retirement, returns to sell his parents estate, but is forced to contend with his wife, his brother and a canny furniture dealer who each have their own agendas.
Jonathan Church’s production transfers to the West End to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the play. The acclaimed Bath cast also make the transfer alongside the production. David Suchet, a theatrical legend, plays the silver-tongued furniture deal alongside Brendan Coyle of Downton Abbey fame as Victor Franz. They are joined in the revival by Sara Stewart and Adrian Lukis.
THE PRICE runs from 5th February to 27th April.
THE CRUCIBLE (YARD THEATRE)
The Hackney fringe venue present a chance to take a new look at Miller’s 1953 play THE CRUCIBLE. The play dramatises the events of the Salem witch trials which took place in Massachusetts in the 1600s. Miller’s play tells the story of a town ripped apart by fear and the consequences on its people. The play was written as an allegory for McCarthyism, where the US government persecuted people of being communists. And in a world where lies and truths are becoming indistinguishable, THE CRUCIBLE remains as relevant as ever.
Jay Miller, artistic director of the Yard, presents a new twist on the American classic. It will feature a woman playing the protagonist John Proctor, a role traditionally played by a man. The Yard also announced this as their biggest production yet with it being the first time they present a work by a non-living playwright.
THE CRUCIBLE runs from 27th March to 11th May.
AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE (UNION THEATRE)
As an addition to the regular Miller output, Southwark’s Union Theatre presents the writer’s translation of Henrik Ibsen’s AN ENEMY TO THE PEOPLE. Written during the same period as THE CRUCIBLE, Miller’s adaptation brings razor sharp precision to Ibsen’s thriller about a rebel scientist fighting to expose a corrupt regime. Phil Willmott directs the new version at the Southwark fringe venue, presenting Miller’s translation for the first time in 30 years in London.
AN ENEMY TO THE PEOPLE runs from 4th January to 2nd February.