Arthur Miller Biography

Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller

ARTHUR MILLER championed the idea of dignity for the common man, and his concern is evident in his plays: the wartime profiteer in All My Sons; the simple farmer standing against the public outcry in The Crucible; the struggling longshoremen of A View from the Bridge; the vast array of people wending their way through the Depression in The American Clock; and ultimately the defeated traveling salesman in Death of a Salesman. In doing so, Miller has examined the fate of all those who strive for success in America. Miller himself was born into a prosperous New York family in 1915. Yet by the time he graduated high school in 1932, at the height of the Depression, the family faced financial ruin. Miller went to work as a manual laborer, taking jobs in a car parts warehouse, on a farm, and around New York harbor. He was able to complete the journalism program at | the University of Michigan, where he also won the Avery Hopwood Award for playwriting. He headed back to New York, where he initially found work writing radio plays. Medically unfit for service during World War II, he toured the camps as a reporter. His first Broadway play, The Man Who Had All The Luck, had very little. It ran less than a week. However, his next play, All My Sons, won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and earned Miller a special citation at the very first Tony Award ceremony. Death of a Salesman came along two years later, opening in February of 1949 and securing Miller his place among America's greatest dramatists. Salesman won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony for Best Play, as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. What followed would be a body of work that includes, among others, his translation of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People (1950), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge (1955), After the Fall (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), The American Clock (1979), The Archbishop's Ceiling (1986), The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1992), and Broken Glass (1994). Most recently, Miller received an Academy Award nomination for his screen adaptation of The Crucible in 1996.

His classic dramas about, in many cases, unextraordinary people are told on the level of Shakespearean tragedy. Yet, as the traditions of the theatre tell us, tragedies are written about great men who are done in by a fatal flaw in their character. How could this apply to, for example, Willy Loman? Well, in an essay written shortly after Death of a Salesman premiered, Miller defended the idea that simple people could be the basis for a great tragic drama. He compared Willy Loman to King Lear, noting that both ultimately die in an effort to secure "a sense of personal dignity."

Miller has always attempted to illuminate that sense of personal dignity in "the common man" through his plays. Brooks Atkinson, reviewing Death of a Salesman in The New York Times, stated, "Mr. Miller has looked with compassion into the hearts of some ordinary Americans and quietly transferred their hope and anguish to the theatre."

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Recent Performances of works by Arthur Miller
Production/Credit WhereOpening Night
The Crucible Brundage Park Playhouse 5/4/2012
The Ride Down Mount Morgan Circle Players 3/2/2012
All My Sons Barn Theatre 9/9/2011
The Crucible East Brunswick Community Players 10/29/2010
The Crucible Holmdel Theatre Company 7/16/2010
Death of a Salesman Westfield Community Players 1/10/2009
A View From the Bridge Studio Players 1/9/2009
Death of a Salesman Luna Stage Company 10/11/2007
Death of a Salesman Nutley Little Theatre 6/8/2007
The Crucible Country Gate Players 5/12/2007
The Price 12 Miles West Theatre Company 2/22/2007
The Price 12 Miles West Theatre Company 2/22/2007
The Crucible Cranford Drama Club 2/2/2007
A View From the Bridge Chatham Players 11/3/2006
Death of a Salesman Off Broad Street Players 9/29/2006
All My Sons Circle Players 6/9/2006
All My Sons Westfield Community Players 1/7/2006
The Ride Down Mount Morgan 12 Miles West Theatre Company 4/1/2005
The Crucible Cabaret Theatre 3/31/2004
A View From the Bridge Iron Mountain Stage Company 3/19/2004
All My Sons Over The Rainbow Productions 3/12/2004
The Crucible Triple Threat Foundation for the Arts 12/5/2003
The Crucible Summit Playhouse Association 11/7/2003
The Crucible Yardley Players 10/31/2003
A View From the Bridge Villagers Theatre 3/28/2003
A View From the Bridge Barn Theatre 3/14/2003
The Crucible Academy Repertory Theatre Company 2/5/2003
A View From the Bridge Cumberland Players 3/8/2002
A View From the Bridge Strollers 3/8/2002
Death of a Salesman Over The Rainbow Productions 1/26/2002
The Crucible Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey 10/23/2001
All My Sons Dover Little Theater 11/24/2000
All My Sons Chatham Players 10/20/2000
The Crucible Players Guild of Leonia 6/23/2000
A View From the Bridge Circle Players 5/12/2000
All My Sons Attic Ensemble 4/28/2000
The Price Westfield Community Players 3/11/2000
Death of a Salesman Somerset Valley Players 3/3/2000
Death of a Salesman Fellowship Theater 2/18/2000
A View From the Bridge Nutley Little Theatre 11/5/1999
Death of a Salesman Paper Mill Playhouse 2/24/1998
A View From the Bridge Rider University 2/20/1998
The Crucible Chatham Players 10/1/1994
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