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Roundabout Theatre Company Presents Arthur Miller’s "All My Sons" at the American Airlines Theatre
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Roundabout Theatre Company Presents Arthur Miller’s "All My Sons" at the American Airlines Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

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Roundabout Theatre Company
Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO
Julia C. Levy, Executive Director
Sydney Beers, General Manager
Steve Dow, Chief Administrative Officer

Annette Bening, Tracy Letts
Benjamin Walker
Arthur Miller’s
All My Sons
(Show Website)

Francesca Carpanini, Hampton Fluker
Michael Hayden, Jenni Barber, Monte Greene
Nehal Joshi, Chinasa Ogbudgu

At the
American Airlines Theatre
227 West 47th Street

Set Design: Douglas W. Schmidt
Costume Design: Jane Greenwood
Lighting Design: Natasha Katz
Sound Design: John Gromada
Video & Projection Design: Jeff Sugg
Hair & Wig Design: Tom Watson
Original Music: Bob James
Voice Coach: Kate Wilson
Fight Director: Steve Rankin
Production Stage Manager: Tripp Phillips
Production Management: Aurora Productions
Casting: Jim Carnahan, CSA/Carrie Gardner, CSA
“All My Sons” General Manager: Denise Cooper
Director of Marketing: Elizabeth Kandel
Director of Development: Christopher Nave
Adams Assoc. Artistic Director: Scott Ellis
Founding Director: Gene Feist
Press: Polk & Co.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 25, 2019

Arthur Miller sees into his characters’ souls and reveals their remorse, dread, conflict, despair, and secrets. All My Sons opened on Broadway in 1947, was adapted to film in 1948 and 1986, and was revived again on Broadway in 1987 and 2008. Miller’s plays should be seen more often, as they provide a mirror to our collective conscience, and their varied psychological-socio-political implications ring truer on each viewing. As it’s been said, “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.” The state of Faustian pacts is just as real in 2019 as it was in 1947. Think Boeing, think Iran, think opioids.

Joe Keller (Tracy Letts) is the post-World War II patriarch, whose now repurposed manufacturing plant had sold airplane parts, that, under deadline pressures, supplied the US military with faulty engine bolts, filled with cracks, that led to the immediate death of 21 pilots. The day the faulty parts were shipped, Keller was home “sick”. His partner, Deever, is sitting in jail, as he took the legal hit for the crime, while Joe was exonerated on having been ill. Joe and Kate Keller (Annette Bening) lost their son, Larry, also a pilot in the War, or he’s still missing in action, according to Kate. Kate waits for his return, even after his “memorial tree” breaks from the trunk, early in the play. Chris Keller (Benjamin Walker) believes with his father that Larry is gone, and now Chris wants to marry Larry’s fiancée, Ann Deever, daughter of Joe’s jailed partner, and former neighbor to the Kellers.

Ann (Francesca Carpanini), is resigned to Larry’s demise and prepares to marry Chris, despite Kate’s anger, as she remains confident in the value of her dreams and even in Larry’s horoscope from that dreadful day, three years ago. George Deever (Hampton Fluker), Ann’s brother, has a brief cameo to confront Ann and Chris, as he feels the impending marriage would betray their martyred father. But, with a masterful way with words, Kate and Joe coddle the vulnerable George, who morphs from seething to silken demeanor. In addition to these lead characters, an ensemble of neighbors appears and disappears, at unexpected moments, a child, his parents, and an eclectic array of neighbors with speaking or walk-on parts. Some of these walk-on parts become intrinsic to Jack O’Brien’s unique and astounding direction. Mr. O’Brien is a member of the Theater Hall of Fame.

The entire two Acts take place outdoors on the Kellers’ Midwestern back lawn, with a detailed, upscale home, wisteria framed settee, lovely porch, fruit tree, and flowering shrubs. Douglas W. Schmidt created a mesmerizing, naturalistic set that projects strongly into the cavernous American Airlines Theatre. Among O’Brien’s production elements are Jeff Sugg’s video clips of warplanes in the sky that precede thunder and lightning, impressive technical effects that add edge and engagement. Jane Greenwood’s post-war costumes are casual comfort for the Kellers, before they dress up for George Deever’s arrival, Joe in a tailored suit and Kate in a flowing red dress.

Mr. Letts performs with understated layers of complexity and conflict. His posture, voice, even hand motion shift minimally with the mysteries and revelations. A high point in the production is when Joe explains to Chris how, dressed in a fine suit, he parked his car on the outskirts of town, when he was acquitted of business fraud and military endangerment, and walked through the main street, shaking hands with his head high. That, he announced, is how he kept his business thriving. He repeatedly assured Chris that the business is essentially now his, in its successful reinvention, thanks to Joe’s seasoned prowess.

Mr. Walker morphs before our eyes from romantic business heir to seething son and brother, as emerging emotions boil and burst. Ms. Bening is the quintessential War mother and wife, stoic, silent, and strong as steel. She replaces the up-rooted tree with her own unbending spine. Ms. Bening lives on hope, but not delusion, and, as events conclude, she is the calm eye at the center of the storm. Ms. Carpanini exudes flirtatious warmth with Chris, cautious acceptance of Joe, more cautious wariness of Kate, and familial guidance of George. This production’s Ann Deever knows what she wants and will not let it slip from her future.

The minor characters, in speaking appearances and carefully directed walk-throughs, Mr. Fluker (Ann’s brother, George Deever), Chinasa Ogbuagu (neighbor, Sue Bayliss), Monte Greene (Bert, child neighbor), Jenni Barber (neighbor, Lydia Lubey), Nehal Joshi (neighbor, Frank Lubey), and Michael Hayden (neighbor, Dr. Jim Bayliss), fill in plot details and add some lighter moments. The Kellers show their public personas in their interaction with the outsiders. When the outsiders are offstage, the Kellers unleash their temperaments. All My Sons at the American Airlines Theatre is gripping, satisfying theatre. Kudos to Jack O’Brien, kudos to the cast, and kudos to Arthur Miller.

See a Testimonial of Daniela Trattoria's New Redesign.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at