We take a look at what critics have been saying about Miranda Cromwell and Marianne Elliott’s production, which transfers to New York following a successful run in the West End.
Variety: “Pierce portrays Willy as a hero for both his time and ours — a complex human being with grave character flaws, but “a good man” for all that. Under the careful direction of Miranda Cromwell, Pierce sensitively scrutinizes this deluded man’s foolish worship of the American Dream, which he narrowly interprets as material success.”
New York Times: “In general, the balance of light and dark in this very dark play does not yet feel natural. Biff and Happy, in Willy’s memory, are not just boyish, but clichés of boyishness; aiming to solve this textual problem by underlining it, Cromwell’s direction makes it worse. On the other hand, Willy himself is often so unrelievedly monstrous that you sometimes can’t see past it to the monstrosity of American business that Miller means to indict.”
New York Post: ** ““Salesman,” always a long sit, settles on an even-keeled gear early on and stubbornly sticks to it — so the production feels endless. The climactic fight all the way to the inevitable conclusion is not affectingly tragic, and there is no build to speak of.”
Deadline: “this Death of a Salesman offers up a vital, fresh take on an American classic, making it all the more American for its inclusiveness, and as classic as the towering performances of Wendell Pierce and Sharon D Clarke.”
LA Times: “At its best, however, this production brings a heightened societal awareness to an anguished family drama that is already unusually sociopolitically astute. A 21st century Miller would no doubt approve of the progress of his evergreen critique of the American dream.”
Vulture.com: “Yet this loudly unstated resonance is everywhere in the new production—not quite enough, perhaps, to transform our understanding of Miller’s intentions, but powerfully enough to reshape our experience of some familiar beats.”
Theater Mania: “Nothing is as heartbreaking as Clarke’s portrayal of Linda: An unexpectedly resonant quaver to her voice, she genuinely loves Willy and wants him to find safe harbor. They are so close to paying off the mortgage. Unlike most other productions, this Linda sings; and in the final moment we are left with just Linda and her song in a downstage spotlight — an image more wrenching than anything you’re likely to witness on Broadway this season.”
The Wrap: ” “Cromwell puts on quite a show. Sometimes it’s too much of a show. Anna Fleischle’s expressionistic scenic design and Jen Schriever’s equally dramatic lighting sometimes have Miller’s very American characters wandering into “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”
Washington Post: “Clarke and director Miranda Cromwell have other ideas, though. Her Linda is less a lamb than a lioness, seeking not so much to enable Willy’s bullying impulses as to try to protect him from his own worst fears about himself.”
Death of a Salesman continues to play on Broadway.