Colonial Players to offer Miller classic

`Death of a Salesman,' which won both the Pulitzer Prize and a Tony award when it debuted in 1949, will conclude the season

Preview

April 28, 2006|By MARY JOHNSON | MARY JOHNSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Death of a Salesman won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony award for best play when it debuted in 1949.

It's continued to win acclaim as one generation after another confronts its questions about the meaning of success and the superficiality and self-deception inherent in pursuing the American dream.

Now the Colonial Players hope to win a little acclaim of their own as they put on Arthur Miller's masterpiece.

The final entry in its five-play season, it opens tonight and will continue through May 27.

Its sad hero, Willy Loman, is losing control of his life after being fired from his job and replaced by someone his son's age.

He's been forgotten by former friends and business associates and is forced to rely on loans from his friend, Charley, to make ends meet.

Raised to believe that their good looks and likability will bring them instant success, Willy's sons, Biff and Happy, are now in their 30s and still struggling to meet their father's expectations.

Biff gradually confronts Willy's situation while Happy pursues a questionable business scheme. Willy, meanwhile, drifts between the present in his living room and flashbacks of his past, including of his dead brother, Ben, who went to Africa as a young man.

"Miller's classic play is timely because it's about downsizing, which is now relevant," said director Lee Dorsey. "The play is set at the tail end of the Depression. Miller began his career in the '40s writing radio plays, and this is one of his first plays. Radio writer Miller wasn't thinking stage, and this play doesn't adapt well to our in-the-round type stage.

"In working with the play," Dorsey continued, "some of us concluded that Willy was in the early stages of Alzheimer's - a disease not known in the '40s."

After observing a rehearsal, I predict that Colonial Players veteran Ken Sabel will create a memorable Willy, surrounded by well-crafted family members

Janet Berry seemed at home as Linda, as did Ben Carr, who plays Biff, and Richard McGraw as Happy.

The cast also includes Marky Regensburg as "the woman" with Danny Brooks as Uncle Ben, Fred Taylor as Stanley, Elizabeth Enkin as Letta, Edd Miller as Charley, David Standish as Charley's successful son, Bernard, Jessica Maiuzzo as Miss Forsythe and Vincent Van Joolen as Howard.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays with 2:30 p.m. performances on Sundays and some 7:30 p.m. Sunday performances. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. For reservations, call 410-268-7373.

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