Back when Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” premiered, the play spoke to a nation emerging from war and eyeing prosperity while still shaking off the memory of economic depression. The country is now heading more or less in the same direction six decades later, and the reality of the times in the play still remains current. Thunder River Theatre Company is proud to bring this brilliant drama to life.
The New York Times said, “As a play with a social conscience and an unswerving moral commitment, ‘All My Sons’ is as relevant today as it was when it was first produced in 1947. In any production of ‘All My Sons’ a certain unease will be evident from the beginning. But the play’s force lies in Miller’s portrayal of how its characters come to identify and reckon with the sources of this unease, as what initially appears as a sunny small-town idyll turns dark and stormy.”
Arthur Miller (Oct. 17, 1915 — Feb. 10, 2005) dedicated himself for 60 years to examining the moral plight of the American working class. He created numerous characters that wrestle with power conflicts, personal and social responsibility, the repercussions of past actions, and the desperation of guilt and hope. “All My Sons” (1947), “Death of a Salesman” (1949), “The Crucible” (1953), and “A View from the Bridge” (1956) are Miller’s most notable works.
The Depression, World War II, a new American prosperity, coupled with absurdist art and existential philosophy in Europe influenced many artists. Miller’s playwriting was certainly reacting, in part, to man’s inhumanity to man prior to and throughout World War II.
He was often in the public eye in the late ’40s through early ’60s, a period during which he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was married to Marilyn Monroe. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts (1993) and the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theatre Award for a Master American Dramatist (1998). In 2001, the NEH selected Miller for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. Miller received many Tony Awards during his theatre life.
“All My Sons” is being directed and designed by TRTC’s Executive Artistic Director Lon Winston. The cast features Kent Reed and Valerie Haugen as Joe and Kate Keller, David Pulliam as Chris Keller, Sarah Dale Payne as Ann Deever, and Corey Simpson as George Deever. Other cast members include Lee Sullivan and Laurie Clemens as Dr. Jim and Sue Bayliss, and Chris Walsh and Kelly Ish as Frank and Lydia Lubey. The production staff includes Olivia Savard (stage manager,) Brad Moore (light and sound designer,) Diane Johnson (prop/costume coordinator) and Morgan Walsh (assistant stage manager).
The show opens Friday, Feb. 28, and runs March 1, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15 (preview Feb. 27). Curtain is 7:30 p.m., except Sunday matinée at 2 p.m. March 9. Tickets are $22 for adults, $12 for students and are available at www.thunderrivertheatre.com. Thunder River Theatre is located in downtown Carbondale between Main and Colorado Ave., and 4th and 6th Streets on the Red Brick Walkway. Further information available at 970-963-8200.