Thursday, May 21, 2020

112. THE CRUCIBLE. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STATE, 1970-1975

Philip Bosco, Robert Foxworth, and company.
 "In Lieu of Reviews"

Reviews of live theatre being impossible during these days of the pandemic, THEATRE'S LEITER SIDE is pleased to provide instead accounts of previous theatre seasons--encompassing the years 1970-1975-for theatre-hungry readers. If you'd like to know the background on how this previously unpublished series came to be and what its relationship is to my three The Encyclopedia of the New York Stage volumes (covering every New York play, musical, revue, and revival between 1920 and 1950), please check the prefaces to any of the entries beginning with the letter “A.” See the list at the end of the current entry.

Theresa Merritt, Philip Bosco.
THE CRUCIBLE [Dramatic Revival] A: Arthur Miller; D: John Berry; S/L: Jo Mielziner; C: Carrie F. Robbins; P: Repertory Theatre of Lincoln Center; T: Vivian Beaumont Theatre; 4/27/72-6/3/72 (44)

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, here given its third New York revival since its original 1953 production, nearly 20 years earlier, stood forth as the masterwork of the great dramatist. It was also provided with one of the finest productions given during the first decade of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre’s life. Earlier revivals had been at Off Broadway’s Martinique Theatre in 1958, which ran for 633 performances, and Broadway’s Belasco Theatre in 1964, which had only 32.
Martha Henry, Robert Fosworth.
The play, an examination of hysteria, conscience, guilt, and courage set in 1692 Salem, had outlived its immediate application as a response to the 1950s’ communist witch hunt run by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. It emerged as a work of universal and timeless relevance—“a true classic, powerful and heroic,” according to Martin Gottfried. Harold Clurman called it “a work of impressive dramatic and moral strength,” and John Simon observed that it was “flawed but forceful, anachronistic and somewhat repetitious, but [an] essentially well-constructed” drama that “holds the stage tooth and nail.”

There were reservations about Miller’s linguistic insufficiency,” as Simon put it, but counter-arguments describing the language as “at once formal and pristine, stalwart as an oak,” in Clurman’s words, also were heard.

Martha Henry, Robert Foxworth, Stephen Elliott.
Nearly every critic lauded John Berry’s production as Lincoln Center’s finest yet, with bravos flung at several outstanding actors, among them Pamela Payton-Wright as Abigail, Robert Proctor (who received a Theatre World Award) as John Proctor, Stephen Elliott as Danforth, Philip Bosco as Rev. Hale, and Martha Henry as Elizabeth Proctor. Berry’s staging was not flashy, but unified and to the point, described by Brendan Gill as “sturdy, forthright and agreeably old-fashioned.”

The few derisive comments came from Stanley Kauffmann, for whom the direction and acting were mediocre, while Douglas Watt felt this “shoddy” melodrama was given an “overwrought” mounting.

Previous entries:

Abelard and Heloise
Absurd Person Singular
“Acrobats” and “Line”
The Advertisement/
All My Sons
All Over
All Over Town
All the Girls Came Out to Play
Alpha Beta
L’Amante Anglais         
American Gothics
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little       
And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers
And Whose Little Boy Are You?
Anna K.
Anne of Green Gables
Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead
As You Like It
The Au Pair Man

Baba Goya [Nourish the Beast]
The Ballad of Johnny Pot
Barbary Shore
The Bar that Never Closes
The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel
The Beauty Part
The Beggar’s Opera
Behold! Cometh the Vanderkellens
Be Kind to People Week
Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill
Bette Midler’s Clams on a Half-Shell Revue
Black Girl
Black Light Theatre of Prague
Black Picture Show
Black Sunlight
The Black Terror
Black Visions
Les Blancs
Blasts and Bravos: An Evening with H,L. Mencken
Blue Boys
Bob and Ray—The Two and Only
Boesman and Lena
The Boy Who Came to Leave
A Breeze from the Gulf
Brief Lives
Brother Gorski
Bullshot Crummond
The Burnt Flower Bed
Button, Button
Buy Bonds, Buster

The Cage
Candide (1)
Candide (2)
The Candyapple
Captain Brassbound’s Conversion
The Caretaker
La Carpa de los Raquichis
The Carpenters
The Castro Complex
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
The Changing Room
Charles Abbott and Son
Charley’s Aunt
Charlie Was Here and Now He’s Gone
Chemin de Fer
The Cherry Orchard
The Chickencoop Chinaman
The Children
Children! Children!
Children in the Rain
Children of the Wind
The Children’s Mass
A Chorus Line
The Chronicle of Henry VI: Part 1, Part II,
The Circle
Clarence Darrow
Cold Feet
Conditions of Agreement
Coney Island Cycle
The Constant Wife
The Contractor
The Contrast
The Constant Wife
The Country Girl
Crazy Now
The Creation of the World and Other Business
Crown Matrimonial