January 18, 2010

All My Sons - Reviews

Audiences and critics alike seem to be impressed with our production of Arthur Miller's ALL MY SONS. Here are a few links - and please - feel free to leave your own thoughts and comments!

The Boston Globe  "Under the direction of David Esbjornson, a superb Huntington cast gives us Miller at his fiercest and most unflinching. During the climactic moments of “All My Sons,’’ everyone in the Boston University Theatre seemed to be holding their breath."

The Hub Review "I realized about half an hour into the show that I was going to need all my superlatives for All My Sons, the new production of Arthur Miller's 1947 classic that singlehandedly re-instates the Huntington as a great regional theatre. The Huntington is back, and it rules"

The Theater Mirror (Carl Rossi) "When the applause that ends Act One sounds like the applause heard at curtain call, you know you’re seeing a winner!"

Boston Herald "Productions like this remind you why classics became classics in the first place." "The palpitating heart of this production is Karen MacDonald, whose turn as Kate is virtuosic."

Blast Magazine "“All My Sons” is the fourth play in what the Huntington has called its “Season of American Stories.” In many ways, it echoes the season’s premier, August Wilson’s “Fences.” While very different in rhythm and tone, both plays feature a charismatic father holding court over his backyard, who ultimately tests your loyalty and trust. Both explore strained families, and the way a father’s past can shape his son’s future. Both are excellent."

The Fenway News "Secrets are always bound to come out sooner or later, and hope and faith do not always translate into a happy ending." "it resonates with the same tone as it did over 60 years ago."

Citrus Quark Blog "by the end the sh-- really hits the fan! The suspense was amazing, and I'm not sure that I blinked during the entire second and third acts."

Berkshire Fine Arts "Here is serious theatre at its best. The performances, the production and the play are simply superb. All My Sons is a must see!"

Boston Low Brow "Scott Bradley has built a barren, while mildly reflective of post-war American prosperity, set that gives the production a smart touch of Ibsen and Bergman. A plain backing is either lighted as a blank abstraction of a Midwestern horizon or used as a massive movie screen for Maya Ciarrocchi’s film montages – a device I liked"

The Boston Phoenix "this is enacted on the BU stage with a blistering believability that does not flinch from the play's near-operatic anguish." "a production that proves, however out of fashion the moral crusader who married Marilyn Monroe might have been, it's Miller time in America once again."

Theater Mirror (Larry Stark) "it is glorious to see a cast headed by half a dozen of Boston's best actors filling Boston's biggest local stage with landmark performances."

BroadwayWorld.com "Still Awesome after all these years"

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Karen MacDonald as Kate Keller and Will Lyman as Joe Keller in the Huntington Theatre Company's production of All My Sons by Arthur Miller is playing January 8 through February 7, 2010 at our Mainstage, the Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave Boston MA 02115. Online tickets and information available 24/7 or call our Box Office (click for hours this week) at 617 266-0800

21 comments:

janet243 from Goldstar said...

A brilliant play, intense and moving. Beautifully staged and well acted.

ueaman from Goldstar said...

The play was a fully-realized story, with a very clever and timely plot. Perhaps even better than the play (and that's saying a lot) was the acting. Karen MacDonald was absolutely superb ! With complete ease, she has transferred her considerable skills (honed at the A.R.T.) to the Huntington and its audience is better for it. I HIGHLY recommend this excellent production!

Paula Klein from Goldstar said...

Excellent play, wonderful acting, it may have been written and set in 1947 but is still relevant today.

Natalie from Goldstar said...

Timeless classic - it was VERY VERY well directed, and the performances were EXCELLENT! Truly highly recommended - I am sending everyone I know.

Pat from ArtsBoston said...

This was a wonderfully professional performance in a beautifully restored theater. It certainly churned up emotions and thoughts as well as being a storyline that one will not forget!!

Joseph from ArtsBoston said...

I enjoyed the Huntington production of All My Sons immensely. As one of Miller's earliest plays, watching it gave me insight into his more famous plays like Death of a Salesmen. Acting and staging were both superb!

Phyllis from ArtsBoston said...

This theatre production is first rate. The set, story, and actors portrayed this timeless piece with simplicity and passion. You felt as though you were a voyeur, peeking into a family struggling to survive and move forward. Their pain becomes your pain as one realizes we are all part of the same family. Their story is everyone's story.....the human one.

Rosanne at Mercer said...

The cast and production of "All My Sons" are superb. The Huntington Theatre's dedication to bringing such important works to life is profoundly important, memorable and not to be missed.

Carrie C.W. Morelock said...

A couple of years ago, my husband and I saw the musical Children of Eden. Half way through the first act, he leaned over to me and loudly whispered, "Look, the playbill says that we can rent the costumes." I was livid--why would I want to rent the costumes from Children of Eden? Why was he inturupting me by talking through the musical?

At intermission of All My Sons, he leaned over to whisper, "did you notice that I haven't even talked during this play? It's because I'm not BORED OUT OF MY MIND."

We loved All My Sons. As entertaining as it was provoking, we talked about it for days.

Dean H said...

Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, written in 1947 when Miller was just 32, preceded Death of a Salesman but, like Salesman, focuses on the rupture of a family that has not dealt with crucial family secrets. The story that slowly comes to light in All My Sons (even as the play’s scenes become, literally, darker and darker) concerns the shipment during World War 2 of cracked cylinder heads for P-40 fighter planes by a factory owned by Joe Keller, who comes out of his quiet home and into his yard on a Sunday morning to read the paper. He sees that an apple tree has blown down in an overnight windstorm. Neighborly events transpire.

We learn that Kate and Joe Keller have two sons, Larry and Chris. Larry, a pilot during the War, has been missing for three years and is presumed dead by everyone but Kate, who is just this side of irrational about the subject. Chris, the heir-apparent to Joe’s business, has asked old friend (and Larry’s former fiancĂ©e) Ann Deever to the house because he wants to propose marriage to her. When Joe realizes this, he is provoked into having an argument with his son, fearing as he does that confronting Kate with the fact that even Ann has given up on Larry will force her to deal, bitterly, hopelessly, with Larry’s death. Ann is estranged from her father Steve, who is serving prison time for having knowingly shipped out those cracked cylinder heads, resulting in the crashes and deaths of over 20 P-40 pilots, while he was the Kellers’ neighbor and a partner in Joe’s business. It sounds complicated, but the story evolves in a sensible way in the play.

The Huntington here in Boston has hit a home run on this one. While this play is 60 years old, it dealt with contemporary issues on its debut. The set is just right (I am old enough to remember when yard furniture looked like that), and the players do a fine job, especially Will Lyman as Joe, a man who knows “we can’t be Jesus here on earth.” Mr. Lyman is exceptional. Karen MacDonald as Kate is powerful, though sometimes a little florid, but that’s in her character. Chris is played by Lee Aaron Rosen, a young man (shades of John-Boy Walton sometimes) whose values and standards are very high, up where values and standards have been known to shatter and break. The play concludes in darkness, and the audience when I attended was floored. All My Sons is very much worth your time.

Charles said...

Two comments to add to all the praise:

1)Get your kids to this--your tweenies, your teens, your college students, whomever-- the audience as usual was full of appreciative middle-agers (and older), but my 12 year old (after my having explained some of the terms and complexity of the story line) was enthralled by the emotions and drama produced by this excellent cast.

2)Yes, Karen MacDonald is good, but to my eye there were two great performances: Will Lyman's complex, modulated, and very moving potrayal of the father; and Michael Tisdale as George Deever-- in a small, paradoxical role he brings an added jolt of drama to the play, revealing dramatic chops that remind one of a young Dustin Hoffman, quirky, passionate, and authentic.

Todd Williams said...

Carrie, Dean, and Charles;

Thank you for sharing your experience!

I've been asked a couple of times if All My Sons would be good for students - and I say YES... if you took them to see Avatar, bring them to the Huntington.

Karolye said...

Superlative production with Will Lyman, as Joe Keller, scoring a home run!

Anonymous said...

It was such a thought provoking and moving play, another fabulous production by Huntington! I was also inspired by the collection for Haiti Relief at the end.

Rena DesRosiers said...

I attended the show with low expectations thinking that this would be a dry play (as some theatre is). I was surprised instantly with the media backdrop and the set design. No idea how they got the house facade on stage.

I attended the post-show discussion and brought up my gut reaction that I thought Anne should have kept the letter to herself. Another heated topic that we spent several minutes on was whether or not the ghost of Larry added to the show. Was it too much artistic creativity? Is that allowed? What would theater be like if director's didn't add their own twist?

I thought the story was very "jam-packed". I know because I tried explaining what built up to the shock factor at the end (I won't reveal it for those who haven't watched) but it took me a good 5 minutes to fully cover the details, Anne comes home, Larry is still missing to the Mom but dead to the men in the family, the neighbor's son brings in bad news, etc etc.

I took my brother to the show although the ticket was originally meant for my mom who couldn't attend. I didn't know if he would appreciate it but the show was so good that there was no doubt. A few days after he called me excited to say he saw a review in the Metro!

Good show. I highly recommend it . I wanted to go back and see it with my parents but the tickets were kind of expensive, that's theater I guess. Good investment though.

Richard said...

While watching this play I was reminded many times that this is
a melodrama. Miller uses all the
conventions like the letter that
appears in the last act to reveal
an essential piece of information. As fine as the performances are it
is difficult to get past the heavy
plotting

Numena11 said...

This masterful performance was riveting on so many levels. The actors (especially the ones playing Joe and Kate) were incredible; the moral dilemmas the play presented about duties to family and society are going to make me think about the play weeks after it's over. The dramatic pace of the play, the witty dialogue, its intermix of tragedy and comedy all add to the emotional complexity of this work of art. I came out of the theater stunned to the bone, having experienced true catharsis. Goethe, too, said once: "Today I was a happy man. I cried in the theater."

Anonymous said...

We found "All My Sons" a memorable theatrical experience in every respect. We've been long time subscribers and would rank this production with the very best that Huntington has done. Bravo!

Bob Asher said...

I just left a very positive comment on the web site under "Anonymous" since I was unable to open an account - I kept on receiving an "error" notice. It was a superb production!

I wanted to mention one discordant note and that was the scene added by the director toward the end of the play where the Mother dreams that her son (in his pilot's attire) returns and enters the house. In my opinion this sequence interfered with the masterful action crescendo Miller was building at the time and I'm sorry the director felt the scene should be added. I found the opening scene that was also added unnecessary but not objectionable.

As I said in my web site commentary, my wife and I found this production to be one of the best the Huntington has offered. Another Bravo!

Bob Asher
Concord, MA

Todd Williams said...

Hi Rena -

We do have a number of discount options, with tickets as low as $20. Flexpass seats are just $50 for best available seating, and Senior and community discounts can be added to those. Anyone under $35 can attend for just $25.

Call our box office at 617 266-0800 to inquire about ticket discounts.

Best,

Todd

Howard B said...

This was an excellent play. I have attended the Huntington since its inception (acually when it was the Hartman). I believe that this was one of the best if not THE best shows I've seen. I was completely engrossed in the play from start to finish. Not only was the content timely but the acting was above reproch. Thanks for all the wonderful times.