Arthur Miller began to write ALL MY SONS in 1945. He was inspired by WWII and a true story told to him by his stepmother. It was his first commercially successful play, written before some of his more famous works, but it already featured the ideals of social responsibility, which were to be pervasive throughout his writing career. The play was presented on stage in 1947 and won a Tony for Best Author as well as best director of a play for Elia Kazan. It also garnered a New York Drama Critics Circle award that same year. The cast included Ed Begley, Beth Miller, Arthur Kennedy and Karl Malden. There was a 1948 film starring Edward G. Robinson and later in 1987 a version more faithful to the original starring James Whitmore, Aiden Quinn, Michael Learned and Joan Allen. Two more adaptations on Broadway, the second in 2008 starred John Lithgow, Dianne Weiss and interestingly, in her Broadway debut Katie Holmes.
Bridge Players Theatre Company has done an admirable job bringing this play to the stage. Beginning with the director Susan Jami Paschkes’ vision Jeffrey Rife has created very clever set, which not only functions believably as the characters come and go in the front yard, rather than enter and exit the stage (but I wanted to go sit on the front porch!)
Joe Keller is who we meet first. Tom McCurdy portrays Joe with ease, he creates a character who rings very true to what a man of Joe’s generation might have been like. Giving him great support is Gabrielle Affleck as his wife Kate. Affleck is a multi-talented performer who states she is elated to be treading the Bridge Players boards. These two characters are really the heart of the play, so the director did a fine job of casting.
Francis Pedersen plays the son, Chris, well, posturing him with the quiet strength so typical of a young man in the early 1950’s. Linda Hansen gives Ann Deever the new found strength and independence the post war young women had. Drew Orr is cast as her brother George and again a very believable portrayal, due to some fine acting and the fact that they look like brother and sister. Fred Ezell as Jim Bayliss, Kathy Harmer as Sue Bayliss, Paul Sollimo as Frank Lubey and Gina Petti as Lydia Lubey all add to the show with more true-to-the-times portrayals. And last but certainly not least is Nico Miele as the neighborhood kid. Great job, Nico…hope to see more of you on stage. Lynne Kyriacos and assistant Mary Kay Hansen, have given the show an authentic period look with their costuming.
Many thanks to Bridge Players for their use of an interpreter to make accessible the world of performing arts to the deaf and hard of hearing community.
ALL MY SONS
by Arthur Miller
Directed by Susan Jami Paschkes
May 2-17, 2014
Bridge Players Theatre Company
Broad Street United Methodist Church
36 East Broad Street