The Price

Theatre Review by Thomas Burke

NEW YORK - November 16, 1999


The Price Arthur Miller, author of The Price, which opened at the Royale Theatre last night, must be a very happy man right now. I'm told by a playwright I know that a production like this, under the direction of James Naughton and brought to Broadway by David Richenthal, from its initial run at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, is every playwright's dream.

A dream production, she went on to explain, is one which concentrates on the play, and does not allow the words to be overshadowed by any other element. You need a reliable director who does not seek to impose his own interpretation or concept. You need talented and experienced actors, but none so famous as to turn your play into a vehicle for themselves. You need set, costume, and lighting designers who exhibit their professionalism by giving you the playwright's requirements, nothing more nor less. And, you need a producer capable of presenting the whole package in a respectful and dignified manner.

That, in a nutshell, is what we have here, along with unquestionable proof that a compelling theatrical experience is more than simply the sum of its parts. Jeffrey DeMunn's Victor Franz is a subtle and disturbing study of a repressed, middle aged man suffering the cumulative effects of years of sublimated anger. Played against the frustrations of Esther Franz, his long suffering wife (Lizbeth Mackay, in a beautifully paced performance) and the passive aggressive revelations of Walter Franz, his brother (Harris Yulin, powerful and manipulatively submissive in turn), a painfully familiar tale of sibling rivalry and duty unfolds. Bob Dishy, as Gregory Solomon, used furniture dealer and outsider, whose presence throws the simmering emotions into high contrast, also provides more good, solid belly laughs than you may have any reason to expect from one of Mr. Miller's plays.

It's a quality production of a damn good play, full of damn good actors. What more needs to be said?

The Price, a play by Arthur Miller. Directed by James Naughton. Staring Jeffrey DeMunn, Bob Dishy, Lizbeth Mackay, and Harris Yulin. Set design by Michael Brown. Costume design by Laurie A. Churba. Lighting design by Rui Rita. Sound design by Jerry M. Yager.

Theatre: Royale Theatre, 242 West 45th Street New York, NY 10036 (between Broadway & 8th Avenue)

Running time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, including one 12 minute intermission.

Audience: May be inappropriate for ages 15 and younger. Children under 4 are not permitted into the theatre.

Schedule: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM. Added performances Friday 11/26 at 2 PM, Monday 12/20 at 8 PM, Sunday 12/26 at 8 PM, Monday 12/27 at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Thursday 12/30 at 2 PM. No performances Tuesday 11/16, Thursday 11/25, Friday 12/24, Saturday 12/25 at 2 PM, Friday 12/31, and Saturday 1/1

Tickets: $45 & $35, Wednesday matinee: $40 & $30. Beginning November 23, $65, $60 & $50, Wednesday matinee: $65, $60 & $50 (Wednesday 12/29 at 2 PM: prices are at the higher scale)

Rush tickets: $25 Rush tickets are available at the Box Office only, on the day of performance, limit 2 tickets per person, subject to availability.

Standing Room: $15, only when the performance is sold out. Available at the Box Office only.

Tickets online: https://www.telecharge.com/

Tickets by phone: Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200, or outside the NY metro area (800) 545-2559, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tickets in person: Box Office hours Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 8 PM, Sunday Noon to 6 PM.

Tickets by snail mail: The Price, PO Box 998 Times Square Station New York, NY 10108-0998



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