ROUNDABOUT BLOG

2011-2012 Season

 

One of the greatest privileges of my career was working with Arthur Miller. Roundabout produced several revivals of Arthur’s plays over the years, and I can happily admit that this choice is partially because he’s quite simply one of my favorite American playwrights of all time. In fact, it would be fair to thank (or blame!) Arthur Miller for my entire career in the theatre. I can clearly remember being a kid who dreaded reading the novels I was assigned in school. And then, in junior high, I was assigned an Arthur Miller play. It made sense to me in a way no novel ever had. It was my first encounter with the kind of propulsive, morally compelling drama that I would come to learn was Arthur’s specialty. And it sent me running to join the stage crew of the next school play. From that moment on, mine has been a life in the theatre.

Arthur’s own life in the theatre continues to fascinate me. Getting to know the man in the later part of his career was eye-opening, as I watched Arthur react to his older works being revived one after another, even as he continued to write new plays. Here was a man who wrote an instant classic, Death of a Salesman, when he was only 34, and while he derived some joy from the ongoing success of that play, he was always looking forward, still striving to write another piece that might impact the world with the same ferocity. He never stopped trying to make theatre that would illuminate the current world and last well beyond it.

I see a lot of that side of Arthur in The Price. To me, this play sits on a strange border between past and future. Its characters are, in many ways, shackled to their past. Everything that happens in the play is happening less because of decisions made in the present and more because of events that occurred decades earlier, back during the Great Depression. Yet at the same time, it’s 1968, a time of incredible upheaval and forward motion in this country, and it’s clear that these people will see a great deal of change ahead. It’s this tension that makes the play so captivating, as Arthur places these figures in a situation that speaks both to their own particular moment and to the questions faced by anyone trying to reconcile their conscience with the mistakes of the past.

This production marks the first time that Roundabout is producing an Arthur Miller play without the man himself here with us, and I thank his daughter, Rebecca Miller, for that opportunity. I miss the man who, for me, went from inspiration, to legend, to friend. But I think he would be proud of Terry Kinney and his outstanding company of actors and designers. They have come together to create the kind of vibrant theatre that Arthur himself always strove for.

As always, I hope you will share your thoughts with me as you see this production of The Price. Please continue to email me throughout this season at artisticoffice@roundabouttheatre.org. I can’t tell you how greatly I value your feedback, and I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!
Sincerely,
Todd Haimes
Artistic Director/CEO


Arthur Miller's The Price is now in previews at the American Airlines Theatre. For tickets and more information, please visit our website.


Related Categories:
2016-2017 Season, Arthur Miller's The Price, From Todd Haimes


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On the Exhale

With the world premiere of On the Exhale, we proudly welcome Martín Zimmerman to the Roundabout family and add him to the extraordinary list of playwrights to be produced through this program. We started Roundabout Underground as a launch-pad for emerging writers, and as the subsequent successes of our first eleven playwrights demonstrates, it is doing exactly that. I can say with confidence that, with this intense, surprising, and moving debut, Martín is already taking off for great heights.

In On the Exhale, Martín creates an exquisitely intimate relationship between audience and character, bringing us on the journey of one woman as she sees her worst fears coming true. What Martín has crafted is both a captivating story and a necessary theatrical exploration of America’s relationship to gun violence at the most deeply personal level. He helps us as an audience to grieve the past, survive the present, and confront the future.

One of the things that I think Martín has done so beautifully is to write a play for one actor that never feels like the prototypical “one-person show.” It is so layered and complex that you never feel the need for other voices to permeate the world of this piece. It is a true play, just one that happens to have only one character in it. And of course, I feel so lucky to have the remarkable Marin Ireland taking on this challenging role. She is one of the most captivating performers of her generation, and to have her command the stage alone in this play, under the direction of the brilliant Leigh Silverman, is simply thrilling to watch.

I’m also grateful to Martín for his choice to infuse such accessible humanity into a work that tackles a dark subject. Taken as a whole, the questions surrounding this country and its history with guns are, to my mind, utterly overwhelming. But Martín is able to break it down in a way that allows us to connect without shutting down. He considers the physical object of a gun itself, the act of holding one and how that differs from seeing one from the other side. He addresses the feelings of power and fear that the mere image of a gun can bring to the surface. And he holds nothing back either about the consequences of violence or our rituals of grief – in all of their insufficiencies. It is a raw, joyful, tragic, and stunning piece, and one that I am so proud to be sharing with you.

As we continue this remarkable tenth season at Roundabout Underground, I know that Martín Zimmerman will continue the great tradition of this initiative. I am so proud of the achievements of the artists who have come before him, who not only brought their brilliance to the Black Box Theatre, but who have also gone on to make some of the best work in theatres across the country and around the world. I can’t help but marvel at the ever-growing list of playwrights, directors, actors, and designers who found an early home with us. From a two-time Pulitzer finalist, to five recent Tony-winners, to more Broadway debuts than I can count, it’s been hugely gratifying to watch these artists attain such success.

I hope that you enjoy On the Exhale, and I am eager to hear your thoughts on this world premiere play. Please email me at artisticoffice@roundabouttheatre.org to share your response to this exceptional new work.

I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Sincerely,
Todd Haimes
Artistic Director/CEO


On the Exhale is now playing at the Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Visit our website for tickets and more information.


Related Categories:
2016-2017 Season, From Todd Haimes, On the Exhale, Roundabout Underground


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From the Artistic Director: Kingdom Come

Posted on: October 4th, 2016 by Todd Haimes

 

KC-On-Sale_IGWith this world premiere, we proudly welcome Jenny Rachel Weiner to the Roundabout family and add her to the extraordinary list of playwrights to be produced through this program. We started Roundabout Underground as a launchpad for emerging writers, and as the subsequent successes of our first ten playwrights demonstrates, it is doing exactly that. I can say with confidence that, with this sensitive, funny, and fearless debut, Jenny is a fitting addition to this wonderful group.

In Kingdom Come, Jenny takes us on a deep dive into online relationships and the ways in which our screens allow us to grow close to people while keeping reality at a distance. There are two fascinating women at the center of this play, and each of them has reasons to hide behind a false identity in the online world. This is a relatively new phenomenon but one with deep roots. The term “catfishing” only came into the popular lexicon in the last few years (thanks to the documentary Catfish and the media coverage of stories like the Manti Te’o scandal), but the concept of deceiving someone into having real feelings through the use of a false identity goes much further back. Think of Cyrano writing love letters to Roxanne in the guise of another man or Twelfth Night’s Malvolio being tricked by a missive from people pretending to be the object of his affection. We may have new terminology to describe such deceptions in our digital world, but this action and its use in drama goes back centuries.

Despite the artifice at the heart of this play, Kingdom Come feels anything but artificial.

Jenny writes all of her characters with both humor and heart, and she shines a spotlight on people of great complexity who deserve to have their stories told. I love how flawed everyone in this world is. Jenny isn’t concerned with a character coming off as “likable” – she just wants to put interesting people onstage and allow their innate flaws to bring them happiness, pain, laughter, and everything in between.

As we enter this remarkable tenth season at Roundabout Underground, I know that Jenny Rachel Weiner will continue the great tradition of this initiative. I am so proud of the achievements of the artists who have come before her, who not only brought their brilliance to the Black Box Theatre, but who have also gone on to make some of the best work in theatres across the country and around the world. I can’t help but marvel at the ever-growing list of playwrights, directors, actors, and designers who found an early home with us. From a two-time Pulitzer finalist, to five recent Tony-winners, to more Broadway debuts than I can count, it’s been hugely gratifying to watch these artists attain such success.

I hope that you enjoy Kingdom Come, and I am eager to hear your thoughts on this world premiere play. Please email me at artisticoffice@roundabouttheatre.org to share your response to this stunning new work.

I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!

Todd Haimes
Artistic Director/CEO


Related Categories:
2016-2017 Season, From Todd Haimes, Kingdom Come


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