What happens when you take Arthur Miller’s venerable “Death of a Salesman” and view it through an African American lens? If this high concept sounds like a win-win way to launch South Coast Repertory’s 50th season—a new interpretation of an all-time classic, staged by one of So Cal’s big theatrical guns—it is. The stew takes a while, however, for the ingredients to simmer and catch fire.
I had a hard time buying Charlie Robinson as weary Willy Loman at first, but he eventually won me over. He’s especially powerful in the second act, as Willy disintegrates bit by bit until his failures are overwhelming. Chris Butler doesn’t seem quite right as Biff early on, but he too grows stronger and more impressive as the play moves toward its climax, and finally hits the bullseye.
Larry Bates (Happy), Kim Staunton (Linda), Gregg Daniel (Uncle Ben) and Tracey A. Leigh (The Woman) provide solid support. Marc Masterson’s directorial choices are sure-footed, though the job might more rightly have gone to an African American director. Michael B. Raiford’s set is an asset; Brian J. Lilienthal’s lighting and Jim Ragland’s music/soundscape lend a sort of film-noir feel to the proceedings. The play itself (running through September 29) holds up as well as ever. Call 714-708-5555.
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British comedy alive in Wodehouse DVD set, “Noises Off” at Stage Door Rep http://www.examiner.com/article/british-comedy-alive-wodehouse-dvd-set-n...
‘Bedroom Farce’ at Stages http://www.examiner.com/article/silent-movies-and-short-skirts-at-oc-cen... …
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Forget that career as a starving artist, says Elaine Grogan Luttrull, who’s determined to demystify personal finance for us artistic types. Her new book, “Arts & Numbers: A Financial Guide for Artists, Writers, Performers, and Other Members of the Creative Class” (now available in paperback from Agate/B2 Books at www.agatepublishing.com) offers an accessible but no-nonsense approach to budgeting, taxes, business plans and more.
Hot tip: Sure you've had enough Shakespeare this season? The seldom-staged “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” is running in repertoire through November 24 at A Noise Within in Pasadena. Visit www.anoisewithin.org or call 626-356-3100.
More from Jordan:
Q&A with Mysterium Theater’s Lady Macbeth, Jill Cary Martin http://www.examiner.com/article/q-a-with-mysterium-theater-s-lady-macbet... …
Where to dine before the show in Costa Mesa #4--Seasons 52
Out of town: New Mexico’s Four Corners Storytelling Festival
Visit my Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Jordan-R.-Young/e/B001K8E7NW
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