I want to take this opportunity to thank the creative team for inviting us to attend the Redeye Grill. The critically acclaimed West End revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman will star Wendell Pierce and Sharon D. Clarke (Tony-nominated, Caroline or Change). The play will be produced on Broadway next season, with Pierce playing the iconic character, Willy Loman, and Clarke stepping into the shoes of his wife, Linda Loman.
A treasured actress across the pond, Clarke won the Olivier Award for Best Actress for the London production of Death of a Salesman, and Pierce received a Best Actor nomination. Directed by Miranda Cromwell, who co-directed the London staging with Marianne Elliott, the Broadway production will also star André De Shields (Hadestown )as Willy’s brother, Ben, and Khris Davis (Sweat) as Biff Loman.
Pierce will play the character, Willy Loman, with an all-Black cast.
But first, a history lesson. Death of a Salesman is a play in “two acts and a requiem” written by Arthur Miller in 1948 and produced in 1949. For his work, Miller won a Pulitzer Prize, and in describing this play, he
called it “the tragedy of a man who gave his life, or sold it” in pursuit of the American Dream.
On Broadway in February 1949, it ran for 742 performances introducing the world to the traveling salesman, Willy Loman. He is so defeated and utterly disappointed with his life that he appears to be sliding into senility, happily. Many themes still ring true today, such as the question mentioned above on the quality of the ‘American dream’ and examing the building blocks of truth and infidelity. And it’s inescapable not to look closely at what a capitalist society’s impact on a life, his life, can be. Death of A Salesman is considered, by some critics, to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century.
Those are five compelling words (in pursuit of the American Dream). Never mind that this stolen land was built on the backs and the flowing blood of African enslaved people in a country that considered us a profitable property. So forgive me when I pause to (laugh) and review those five words: The. Pursuit. Of. The. American. Dream.
“It’s an honor to be working with you Sharon [D. Clarke] and I want to thank you for taking care of me, on and off the stage,” said Wendell Pierce. “I didn’t expect to feel like this emotional but at this place, and at this time, this is exactly where I need to be. It’s an honor to be sharing the stage [again] with Sharon D. Clark.”
Later Ms. Clark weighed in, sharing that she often wondered what kept Linda in the marriage with Willy. “I always wondered what was it about the relationship that hung them together, were they afraid?” shared Sharon D. Clarke. “What you see in our Linda and Willy’s relationship is that these two people love each other.”
“Death of a Salesman” opens on Broadway in the Fall, with previews starting September 19th at the Hudson Theatre. To learn more about the critically acclaimed West End revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman starring Wendell Pierce, Sharon D Clarke Hadestown’s André De Shields as Willy’s brother, Ben, and Khris Davis (Sweat, Atlanta) as Biff Loman go to www.telecharge.com.
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