Arthur Miller was born in New York City in 1915. His first theatrical success occurred in 1947 with All My Sons, which earned him the Drama Critics Circle Award. In 1949, Death of a Salesman was given the Pulitzer Prize, the Drama Critics Circle Award and the Tony Award for Best Play. The Crucible won another Tony Award for Best Play four years later. His other plays include A View From the Bridge, After the Fall, Incident at Vichy, Broken Glass and Mr. Peters' Connections. In 2001, he received The National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award.Mr. Miller died on Feb. 10, 2005 at the age of 89.
DEATH OF A SALESMAN (1949) succeeded as a brilliant modern tragedy that, in recent productions starring Dustin Hoffman and Brian Dennehy, has shown that it still commands the stage. Traveling salesman Willy Loman is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, eaten up with guilt and shame over his failures as provider and father. As he struggles with the present and flashes back to the past, we witness his desperate journey toward redemption. This simple, powerful production of 1965 reunites the original Willy, Lee J. Cobb, with Linda Loman, Mildred Dunnock, and features a young Hoffman. Confidently directed for audio by Broadway veteran Ulu Grosbard, the recording benefits from Miller's years of writing radio plays; it is easily followed. The action in THE CRUCIBLE is not nearly as clear. In fact, this 1972 production has numerous problematic elements, from amateurish technical details to uneven performances. But then, the script itself doesn't help much. A far lesser offering than SALESMAN, this account of the Salem witch trials enjoys more revivals than any other Miller play. Perhaps its popularity stems from its thinly disguised reference to the McCarthy hearings and the destructiveness of public hysteria. Robert Foxworth, now 60 and notably reviving his stage career after decades in television, makes for a virile and dynamic John Proctor, the flawed hero of the piece. But director John Berry has erred on the turgid side. Y.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine