2010 revival of A View from the Bridge
starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson.
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The domain has seen several new owners who changed the original content. One owner made this domain a blog about the theater. The current owner has chosen to return the site to its original purpose of promoting the 2010 production of A View from the Bridge.
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138 W. 48th St.
Cast Starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson
Preview: December 28, 2009
Opened: January 24, 2010
Closing Date: April 4, 2010
A scene from "A View from the Bridge" featuring Liev Schreiber, Jessica Hecht and Scarlett Johansson
A View From the Bridge opened on Broadway on September 29, 1955 at the Coronet Theatre. This production appeared in a joint bill with A Memory of Two Mondays.
In 1956, the play was revised into two acts and performed at the Comedy Theatre in London.
A movie version of A View From the Bridge, directed by Sidney Lumet is released in 1961, title "Vu du Pont".
Dustin Hoffman acted as assistant director and stage manager for the 1965 Off-Broadway production of the play at the Sheridan Square Playhouse in NYC.
In 1983, A View From the Bridge was revived on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre starring Tony LoBianco.
Roundabout Theatre Company revives of A View From the Bridge in 1997, starring Anthony LaPaglia, Allison Janney, and Brittany Murphy. The production garnered several nominations and won the Tony Award© and Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a play.
An opera of A View From the Bridge, with music by William Bolcom and a libretto by Arthur Miller, premiered at Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1999 and went on to play at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 2002.
The play was performed by drama students in the Hindi language in November, 2005, at Faculty of Performing Arts in India, in a production that was acclaimed by well-known critics.
A View From the Bridge opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in London in 2009, starring, Ken Stott, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Hayley Atwell and Harry Lloyd.
Comment from Front Row Seat: Arthur Miller fans will love this revival - it hold true to the atmosphere and controversy created by the original. This performance by the original cast is genuinely compelling and emotional. The only problem I had was with some of the promotional material getting the information wrong. Online Broadway! actually had the theater incorrect until it was corrected. Google made it worse. A search for the show has the article with the wrong address showing up very high on Google's page one and I'm sure many people either went to the wrong theater or dialed the wrong number before discovering the problem. In a world so dependent on accurate information, the fact that Google's search results can mislead us is troubling, but they claim the real culprit is the publisher of the information. While true, it doesn't explain why so many people are in need of services like this one. I was one of the fools that believed Google's search results on the evening of the show and missed part of the opening scene as a result. Not because of the publisher, but because Google pulled that information and used it in their own theater guide. The show made up for this slight inconvenience, but turned me onto the larger issue of too much trusting of big tech, for which I am obviously guilty.
+++ Cast +++
was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Barry Champlain in Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio, directed by Robert Fall and received the award for his performance in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, directed by Joe Mantello. Other stage work: Macbeth (Shakespeare in the Park, directed by MoisÃ©s Kaufman). Film/TV: Taking Woodstock, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Defiance, The Painted Veil, "Lackawanna Blues," The Manchurian Candidate, The Sum of All Fears, Kate & Leopold, The Hurricane, Hamlet, "RKO 281" (Emmy and Golden Globe nominations), Spring Forward, A Walk on the Moon, Mixed Nuts, "The Sunshine Boys," and the Scream trilogy. Upcoming: Salt, Repossession Mambo, Every Day. Documentary narration work includes: Mantle, :03 Seconds from Gold, and A City on Fire: The Story of the 68 Detroit Tigers; the series Nova and Nature. Schreiber made his directorial debut with Everything is Illuminated. Adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling novel, the film received special recognition for excellence in filmmaking by the National Board of Review
is honored to be making her Broadway debut in A View From the Bridge. Four-time Golden Globe nomin ee and BAFTA winner, Johansson received rave reviews and a Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival for her starring role in Lost in Translation. A New York native, Johansson made her professional acting debut at the age of eight off-Broadway in Sophistry. Film credits include: Manny & Lo, (Independent Spirit Award nomination), Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer, Ghost World (Toronto Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actress Award), The Other Boleyn Girl, The Spirit, The Man Who Wasn't There, In Good Company, A Love Song for Bobby Long, Match Point, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Island, The Black Dahlia, The Prestige, and The Nanny Diaries. Johansson recently starred in He's Just Not That Into You and Vicky Cristina Barcelona and will next be seen in Iron Man 2.
Broadway: Brighton Beach Memoirs, Julius Caesar, After the Fall, The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Off-Broadway: Make Me (Atlantic), Howard Katz (Roundabout), The House in Town (Lincoln Center), Flesh & Blood(NYTW), The Fourth Sister (Vineyard), Plunge and Lobster Alice (Playwrights Horizons), Stop Kiss (Public Theater), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Theatre for a New Audience). Williamstown Theatre Festival: The Torchbearers, The Three Sisters, Blithe Spirit, The Autumn Garden, Top Girls, Light Up the Sky, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Film: Whatever Works, Dan in Real Life, Starting Out in the Evening, The Forgotten, Sideways, The Grey Zone; upcoming: 25/8, The Winning Season, Helena From the Wedding. TV: Eleventh Hour, Breaking Bad, ER, The Jury, Law & Order x three, Friends, The Single Guy, Homicide, Seinfeld.
Mr. Cristofer was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and an Antoinette Perry Tony Award for the Broadway production of his play, The Shadow Box. Mr. Cristofer's film work includes the screenplays for The Shadow Boxdirected by Paul Newman (Golden Globe Award, Emmy nomination), Falling In Love, with Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro, The Witches Of Eastwick with Jack Nicholson, Bonfire Of The Vanities with Tom Hanks and Casanova with Heath Ledger. His directing credits include Gia, for HBO Pictures starring Angelina Jolie, Mercedes Ruehl and Faye Dunaway (5 Emmy nominations, Director's Guild Award), Body Shots for New Line Cinema and Original Sin starring Antonio Banderas. He has acted in over a hundred plays including: Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...(Guthrie Theater), Romeo And Juliet (NY Shakespeare Festival), A Body Of Water (Primary Stages), Three Sisters(Williamstown Theater Festival), Trumpery (Atlantic Theater), Old Wicked Songs (Westport Playhouse), The Cherry Orchard (LA Theater Works), Hamlet (Roundabout), The Cherry Orchard (Lincoln Center, Theater World Award), Chinchilla (Phoenix Theater, OBIE Award), The Seagull (Woodstock Festival), Tooth Of Crime (Mark Taper Forum, LA Drama Critics Award), Ashes (Mark Taper Forum). Film and television includes: Seventeen Photographs Of Isabel (Don Roos), Die Hard Ii(John McTiernan), Enemy Of The People (George Schaeffer), The Entertainer (Donald Wrye), The Last Of Mrs. Lincoln (George Schaeffer).
is a graduate of Reed College and the American Conservatory Theatre MFA program. Theatre credits include Enemies: A Love Story at the Wilma Theatre, Disney's The Lion King (National Tour) and A Christmas Carol at ACT. Film and Television credits include: The Last Airbender; Law & Order: Criminal Intent; and HBO's How to Make it in America. This is his Broadway debut
New York native Corey Stoll has been working in theater, film and television since graduating with an MFA in acting from NYU in 2003. Most recently, Corey appeared as 'Vershinin' in Sarah Ruhl's adaptation of Three Sisters, directed by John Doyle at the Cincinnati Playhouse on the Park. Broadway credits: Old Acquaintance (Roundabout) and Henry IV (Lincoln Center Theater). Off Broadway: Intimate Apparel (Drama Desk Award Nomination), Beast (NYTW), Some Americans Abroad(Second Stage.) Regional: Intimate Apparel (Mark Taper Forum- Drama Critics Circle Award.) Film roles: upcoming Salt with Angelina Jolie, Helena At The Wedding, Push, North Country, Lucky Number Slevin and Brief Interviews With Hideous Men . Numerous television appearances including "A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story."
+++ Creative +++
Arthur was born in New York City and studied at the University of Michigan. His plays include All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View From the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall(1964), Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business(1972), The Archbishop's Ceiling (1977), The American Clock (1980) and Playing for Time. Later plays include The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1993), Broken Glass (1994), Mr. Peters' Connections (1998), Resurrection Blues(2002) and Finishing the Picture (2004).
Other works include Focus, a novel (1945); The Misfits, a screenplay (1960); and the texts for In Russia (1969), In the Country (1977) and Chinese Encounters (1979), three books with photographs by his wife, Inge Morath. Memoirs include Salesman in Beijing (1984) and Timebends, an autobiography (1988). Short fiction includes the collection I Don't Need You Anymore (1967); the novella, Homely Girl, a Life (1995); and Presence: Stories (2007).
He was awarded the Avery Hopwood Award for Playwriting at the University of Michigan in 1936. He twice won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, received two Emmy awards and three Tony Awards for his plays, as well as a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. He also won an Obie Award, a BBC Best Play Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, a Gold Medal for Drama from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Literary Lion Award from the New York Public Library, the John F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Algur Meadows Award. He was named Jefferson Lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2001. He was awarded the 2002 Prince of Asturias Award for Letters and the 2003 Jerusalem Prize. He received honorary degrees from Oxford University and Harvard University and was awarded the Prix Moliere of the French theatre, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Lifetime Achievement Award and the Pulitzer Prize, as well as numerous other awards. www.arthmiller.org
Gregory has produced or directed nearly 200 plays at the Goodman and Lincoln Center theatres, on Broadway and in London's West End. His long association with David Mamet included twenty-three plays, including American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Speed-the-Plow. He has worked with many major playwrights, often on new work, including Samuel Beckett, Leonard Bernstein, John Guare, Richard Nelson, David Rabe and Tennessee Williams. His association with Mr. Miller began in 1985, when Mosher invited him to be part of the creative team at Lincoln Center Theatre; A View from the Bridge will be the third play of Miller's he has directed. Mosher has won every major American theatre award, including two Tony's.
Broadway: Over 35 plays and musicals including Time Stands Still, Waiting for Godot, Young Frankenstein, Is He Dead?, Curtains, Grey Gardens, The Pajama Game, The Producers, Contact, Kiss Me Kate, Steel Pier. Recent Off-Broadway, the Brother/Sister Plays, Ruined, Twelfth Night in Central park, Wig Out!. He has designed for most leading resident and regional theatre companies in the U.S. including Lincoln Center, MTC, Roundabout, Encores!, The Public, Guthrie, Goodman, Seattle Rep, La Jolla, CTG, Long Wharf. Opera: The Met, NYCO, San Francisco, Houston Grand, L.A Music Center, Seattle, Santa Fe, St. Louis. Abroad: Royal Opera Covent Garden, Scottish Opera, Opera/North, Bonn, La Fenice, Maggio Florence, L'Arena di Verona, Cagliari, Lisbon. Recipient of the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Dramalogue and Hewes design awards.
More than 100 Broadway/Off-Broadway credits including Brighton Beach, Waiting for Godot,Shakespeare in the Park's Twelfth Night, Accent on Youth, Thurgood, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Receptionist, Heartbreak House, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Delicate Balance, Proposals, A Moon for the Misbegotten, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Master Class, Passion, The Heiress, The Sisters Rosensweig, California Suite, Medea, Plenty, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, Burton's Hamlet, Vita and Virginia, Sylvia, The Lisbon Traviata. Metropolitan Opera: revival of Adriana Lecouvreur (2009), Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Great Gatsby. Chicago Lyric Opera: Nabucco, Rigoletto. San Francisco Opera: La Favorita. Film: Arthur, Can't Stop the Music, Glengarry Glen Ross. Awards: Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award, Theatre Hall of Fame, 14 Tony nominations. Professor, Yale School of Drama.
PRESS / REVIEWS
Conversations with John Lahr: Liev Schreiber
By The New Yorker / March 10, 2010
In the February 1, 2010, issue of the magazine, John Lahr wrote about “A View from the Bridge,” a revival of Arthur Miller’s 1955 play, directed by Gregory Mosher. (Subscribers can read the full text online; others can pay to access the issue.) Last month, Lahr sat down with the actor Liev Schreiber to discuss the surprising humor in the play, how he identified with his character’s loneliness, and performing opposite Scarlett Johansson.
Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber.
Photograph by Francesco Carrozzini
The revival of Arthur Miller’s 1955 play “A View from the Bridge” (deftly directed by Gregory Mosher, at the Cort) is a singular astonishment: a kind of theatrical lightning bolt that sizzles and startles at the same time, illuminating the poetry in the play’s prose and the subtlety in its streamlined construction. “A View from the Bridge” may not be Miller’s best play, but this is one of the best productions of his work that I’ve ever seen.
In John Lee Beatty’s moody set, the action emerges from the chilly shadows of the brown warrens of Red Hook, a working-class Italian enclave on the seaward side of the Brooklyn Bridge. “This is the gullet of New York swallowing the tonnage of the world,” Alfieri (the compelling Michael Cristofer), a lawyer, who serves as a kind of chorus for the tragic tale, says at the opening. He adds, “I am inclined to notice the ruins in things, perhaps because I was born in Italy.” The ruin in question is the longshoreman Eddie Carbone (Liev Schreiber), a palooka with no purchase on language or on his own psyche, who is destroyed by his unexamined desire for his teen-age niece, Catherine (Scarlett Johansson), whom he and his wife, Beatrice (Jessica Hecht), have raised. When Catherine falls in love with one of the two illegal immigrants that they put up—cousins from the Old Country—Eddie’s only way to keep her from getting married is to report the cousins to the Immigration Bureau. By dropping the dime, Eddie betrays his wife, his niece, his relatives, himself, and, by extension, his entire tribe. The story’s symmetry is elemental and terrifying; it hurtles to its conclusion, propelled by Schreiber’s uncanny, incandescent performance.
Saturnine and strapping, Eddie enters in a cloth cap and an overcoat as rumpled as the world he inhabits. He is driven by feelings that he can neither fathom nor control, and which he hides beneath a show of paternal concern. “Listen, you been givin’ me the willies the way you walk down the street, I mean it,” he tells his curvaceous niece, taking in her hourglass figure from the comfort of his easy chair. “Catherine, I don’t want to be a pest, but I’m tellin’ you you’re walkin’ wavy.” Of the many gifts that Schreiber brings to the role—a swift mind, a pitch-perfect ear for the sludge of the demotic, a reservoir of restrained aggression, an ability to listen—the most important, it seems to me, is a sense of his own unresolved nature, an inchoate longing that makes him a perfect emotional fit for Eddie. There’s a loneliness and an agitation in Schreiber that are at odds with his technical command; this combination of fragility and force makes him seem both mysterious and dangerous, and therefore compelling to watch.
As Catherine, Johansson is a superb object for Schreiber’s ambivalent desire. In a robin-egg-blue sweater and a form-fitting gray skirt, she glows with ripeness and an alertness to life. The top student in her high-school graduating class, Catherine, in the opening scene, gets word that she has been offered a fifty-dollar-a-week job at a local plumbing company. Eddie, who has bigger dreams for her, balks at the idea, before finally conceding. “You wanna go to work, heh, Madonna?” he says. “All right, go to work.” Tearfully, Catherine throws herself into his arms, then bustles happily around the threadbare apartment. “I’m gonna buy all new dishes with my first pay!” she says. Catherine’s world is opening up; Eddie’s is closing down. Onstage, Johansson is more resourceful than most of her film roles have allowed her to be; her face is a detailed map of Catherine’s internal climate—her loyalty, her gratitude, her eagerness, her rebelliousness against Eddie’s petty tyrannies, and her insistence on her own desires, in particular for the happy-go-lucky blond cousin, Rodolpho (the excellent Morgan Spector), whom Eddie thinks is “a weird,” because he sings, cooks, and sews.
“You married too?” Catherine asks Rodolpho when he arrives with his brother, Marco (Corey Stoll), a family man with three children to feed. “I have no money to get married. I have a nice face, but no money,” Rodolpho says, laughing. By the time he has finished singing a jazz version of “Paper Doll”—“Leave him finish, it’s beautiful,” Catherine says when Eddie tries to interrupt—Catherine is under his spell. At a stroke, she is claimed by romance and Eddie by envy: when he first goes to see Alfieri about putting a stop to the relationship, he claims he’s been robbed (“He . . . puts his dirty filthy hands on her like a goddam thief”). “I’m tryin’ to bring out my thoughts here,” Eddie tells Alfieri. In fact, everything in this ravishing production demonstrates the opposite: Eddie staunchly refuses to think. All the negative is projected into other people. Drunk at Christmas, Eddie arrives home to find Rodolpho coming out of Catherine’s bedroom. In an electrifying moment—superbly staged by Mosher—the two men lunge at each other. Schreiber seems to throw the full weight of his melancholy into the tackle, which sends them sprawling across the kitchen table. In front of Catherine, Eddie plants a taunting kiss on Rodolpho’s lips. As Catherine tries to pull him away, Eddie grabs her and kisses her hard on the mouth. The horror of the scene is immediately erased from Eddie’s mind by the sound of his own righteousness. “Don’t lay another hand on her unless you wanna go out feet first,” he says to Rodolpho as he exits. Even at the finale, when Eddie faces off against Marco, who is being deported, he insists on his honor. “Wipin’ the neighborhood with my name like a dirty rag! I want my name, Marco,” he says.
“Something perversely pure calls to me from his memory,” Alfieri says of Eddie in an elegiac epilogue. “Not purely good, but himself purely, for he allowed himself to be wholly known.” In both style and content, this weasel-worded speech seems to contradict the play: Eddie never allows himself to be known; he hides even from himself. So what is going on? About whom is Miller speaking? Miller had heard the Carbone story from a longshoreman around 1950, when he was writing a screenplay about the waterfront for Elia Kazan—which he withdrew from production in 1951, as the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings loomed. (Kazan testified, controversially, as a friendly witness.) Miller thought of that murky first draft as a “probe”; he entitled it “An Italian Tragedy” and put it away. By the time he came back to the story, in 1955, he had fallen in love with Marilyn Monroe, whom he would soon marry; he was in the process of divorcing his wife of sixteen years and breaking up their family. He was, he said, in “psychological country strange to me, ugly and forbidding.” Betrayal had become part of Miller’s story, as well as Kazan’s. In his movie “On the Waterfront” (1954), Kazan attempted to justify his decision to testify by depicting an informer as a heroic victim of systemic corruption. “A View from the Bridge,” by contrast, depicts the informer as a deluded victimizer. “It would have been nice if Art, at this moment, while expressing the strong disapproval he felt, had acknowledged some past friendship—or even written me a few words, however condemnatory,” Kazan, who had directed the Broadway productions of Miller’s “All My Sons” and “Death of a Salesman,” wrote in his autobiography. Instead, it seems to me, Miller replied to Kazan from the stage. Alfieri’s ambivalent envoi is a rueful way of forgiving Kazan his trespasses, and, by extension, allowing Miller to forgive himself his own. “And so I mourn him—I admit it—with a certain . . . alarm,” Alfieri says as the curtain falls.
A View From the Bridge
Production expertly plants the seeds of tragedy while making every moment seem unpredictable.
By David Rooney / January 24, 2010 / variety.com
Sometimes it’s high praise to call a stage director’s work invisible. The compliment applies to Gregory Mosher’s searing revival of “A View From the Bridge,” though it by no means indicates any lack of craftsmanship or insight. Returning to Broadway after a considerable absence, Mosher has instilled in his outstanding cast an unconditional trust in Arthur Miller’s text, evoking a time, a place and a 1950s blue-collar community with penetrating integrity. Each scene flows seamlessly from the one before in a production that expertly plants the seeds of inexorable tragedy yet grips with a tension and volatility that make every moment seem unpredictable.
The revival was assembled around the casting of Liev Schreiber as Eddie Carbone, the Brooklyn longshoreman whose simmering passion for his 17-year-old niece propels him to break unthinkable moral and family codes. Schreiber brings blistering intensity to the role; there’s as much power in his silences and baleful glances as in his anger. His spasms of pain suggest a man whose belligerence can’t quite mask the terror and panic induced by his helpless condition.
From the moment, early on, when he gently nuzzles his head into a too-lingering embrace with the orphaned girl who has grown up in his house, we know Schreiber’s Eddie is possessed by a desire that blinds and befuddles him.
Denial is stamped deep into the subconscious of Schreiber’s characterization, but it’s the absence of calculation that elevates Miller’s marriage of naturalistic psychological drama and Greek tragedy. It also informs the nuanced work of the actors around him.
Chief among them are Scarlett Johansson, remarkably assured as Eddie’s niece Catherine, torn between childlike loyalty and a womanly yen for independence; and Jessica Hecht as his wife, Beatrice.
The latter follows her impeccable work in the short-lived “Brighton Beach Memoirs” with a performance of even more finely layered complexity, offsetting Bea’s nagging harshness with a delicacy that’s heartbreaking. Her warnings to both Eddie and Catherine are issued more out of fear than jealousy. The character’s tragedy is that even when all of Eddie’s betrayals are exposed, she still loves him, expressed in an animal howl at the devastating close of the play.
While Bea observes from the beginning that her husband is on dangerous ground, the stability of the Carbone household is shaken beyond repair by the arrival of Bea’s cousins, Rodolpho (Morgan Spector) and Marco (Corey Stoll), illegal immigrants fresh off the boat from Sicily. The instant romance between Catherine and Rodolpho causes Eddie’s overprotective impulses to run riot as his resentment of Rodolpho crescendos into hatred.
He starts by inferring the Italian is courting Catherine only to benefit his immigration status. Then when that fails to discourage her, he insinuates Rodolpho is homosexual. “The guy ain’t right,” he keeps repeating, pointing out as evidence that he sings, he sews, he cooks and he’s blond.
Miller’s employment of local lawyer Alfieri as a one-man Greek chorus — providing portentous reflections on the action and articulating weighty themes of justice and honor — can seem heavy-handed. But Michael Cristofer is an actor of uncommon intelligence and compassion who brings gravitas to the running commentary and perceptive depths to his two interviews with Eddie.
In these powerfully loaded scenes, Alfieri functions as the obstinate longshoreman’s father confessor, without the sin ever being named. The futility of his attempts to steer Eddie away from his disastrous course is crushing.
Brushed with chiaroscuro textures by Peter Kaczorowski’s brooding lighting, John Lee Beatty’s quietly oppressive set is an atmospheric representation of an all-seeing community with rigid rules — particularly regarding stool pigeons. The blackened windows of its looming tenement houses are like watchful eyes, illuminated only when Eddie crosses the line in a plot development that echoes Miller’s own experience with the House Un-American Activities Committee.
But it’s the unraveling of his family that cuts deepest. “I want my respect,” Eddie keeps barking at Beatrice, even when she can barely look at him. And even when the evidence is insurmountable that her troubled father figure will never be able to think rationally or disinterestedly about her future outside of his house, Catherine still struggles to free herself from her loyalty, dependence and naive hope that Eddie will somehow relent.
Looking shapely in tight sweaters and skirts yet still girlishly oblivious to her sensuality, Johansson embodies this dilemma with touching dignity, as much in her moments of cautious distance as those of heated self-assertiveness.
Originally an understudy, Spector stepped into the role of Rodolpho at short notice when Santino Fontana was injured during previews. But there’s no trace of uncertainty in his performance, which is rich in humor and flirtatious warmth, with just a hint of ambiguity to feed Eddie’s suspicions. As Rodolpho’s married brother Marco, Stoll etches a fully grounded man of formidable physical and moral strength.
There’s not a false note in any of the performances or an ill-considered directorial stroke in Mosher’s clear-eyed approach to this first-rate revival.
A View From the Bridge
Cort Theater; 1,079 seats; $126.50 top
Production: A Stuart Thompson, Araca Group, Jeffrey Finn, Broadway Across America, Olympus Theatricals, Marisa Sechrest, Weinstein Co., Jon B. Platt, Sonia Friedman Prods./Robert G. Bartner, Mort Swinsky/Joseph Deitch, Adam Zotovich/Ruth Hendel/Orin Wolf, Shelter Island Enterprises, Shubert Organization presentation of a play in two acts by Arthur Miller. Directed by Gregory Mosher.
Creative: Sets, John Lee Beatty; costumes, Jane Greenwood; lighting, Peter Kaczorowski; sound, Scott Lehrer; hair and wigs, Tom Watson; dialect coach, Stephen Gabis; production stage manager, William Joseph Barnes. Opened Jan. 24, 2010. Reviewed Jan. 20. Running time: 1 HOUR, 55 MIN.
Cast: Eddie - Liev Schreiber Catherine - Scarlett Johansson Beatrice - Jessica Hecht Alfieri - Michael Cristofer Rodolpho - Morgan Spector Marco - Corey StollWith: Robert Turano, Joe Ricci, Matthew Montelongo, Anthony DeSando, Marco Verna, Alex Cendese, Mark Morettini, Antoinette LaVecchia.
A View From Brooklyn of Tragedy Most Classic
NYT Critic’s Pick
Closing Date: April 4, 2010
Cort Theater, 138 W. 48th St. 212-239-6200
By BEN BRANTLEY / JAN. 24, 2010 / www.nytimes.com
What’s extraordinary about Gregory Mosher’s beautifully observed production of “A View From the Bridge” is how ordinary most of it feels. Very little in this revival of Arthur Miller’s kitchen-sink drama with knives, which opened Sunday night at the Cort Theater, calls loudly for our consideration. Voices are often kept to a just audible murmur, and the Hollywood sheen of the show’s big-name stars, Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson, has been dimmed to a matte finish.
Watching the daily rituals of the small family in mid-1950s Red Hook, Brooklyn, made up of the characters so exquisitely played by Mr. Schreiber, Ms. Johansson and Jessica Hecht, feels like spying across the alley on neighbors who would normally be invisible to you. Yet there’s no question of not paying them the attention that Miller demands.
Looking closely, you notice hairline fissures of unease. What has been cozy becomes, by degrees, claustrophobic, and even if you don’t know the play’s outcome, you’re apt to discover a knot in your stomach. A part of you feels that you should stand up and yell, to defuse tension and deflect disaster, though, as one character notes retrospectively, “nothing at all had really happened.”
Even more than with “Death of a Salesman,” Miller used “Bridge” to sell his theory that true tragic heroes may well emerge from the common run of contemporary lives. So eager was he to make the point that he even included a one-man Greek chorus, an Italian-born lawyer named Alfieri (here played by Michael Cristofer), who speaks loftily about the grandeur of the story’s “bloody course” of incestuous longings and fatal consequences.
Perhaps Miller felt that plays, like classical heroes, required tragic flaws, and thus provided one for “Bridge” in the form of the long-winded Alfieri. This drama needs no annotator or apologist if it’s acted with the naturalistic refinement — and accumulation of revelatory detail — found in this interpretation.
I had wondered if “Bridge” really needed another revival. New York saw a first-rate production only a dozen years ago, directed by Michael Mayer, with Anthony LaPaglia, Allison Janney and the young Brittany Murphy (who died at 32 last year). But this latest incarnation makes the case that certain plays, like certain operas, are rich enough to be revisited as often and as long as there are performers with strong, original voices and fresh insights.
Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge.” CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times
Mr. Mosher’s approach is more sotto voce than Mr. Mayer’s was and more intimately focused. The play’s first scenes in the crowded apartment of Eddie Carbone (Mr. Schreiber) have a prosaic quietness. Eddie returns to his apartment from a hard day at the docks to be greeted warmly by Catherine (Ms. Johansson), the 17-year-old niece he has raised with his wife, Beatrice (Ms. Hecht), as his own daughter.
You’re struck by the easy, affectionate interplay between Eddie and Catherine, and by the more fretful, but still amiable, rapport of Eddie and his wife. There is at first glance nothing wrong with this picture.
When you hear the family will be taking in two Italian cousins of Beatrice’s — young men in need of work (and illegally in the country) — you figure that though the apartment is already crowded, the Carbones can handle the company. Even after the arrival of Marco (Corey Stoll) and his younger brother, Rodolpho (Morgan Spector), the politely regulated tension that you sense could arise simply from too many people in too small a space.
But as he has demonstrated repeatedly onstage (“Talk Radio,” “Betrayal”), Mr. Schreiber registers changes in emotional temperature with organic physical precision. At one point, maybe 20 minutes into the show, I looked at his face and it had acquired that drawn, stripped look that comes from sleepless nights. There was no doubting that Eddie Carbone was headed for some kind of breakdown, or that Mr. Schreiber had been gently steering you toward this perception since his first appearance.
Mr. Schreiber is such a complete actor that he has often thrown productions into imbalance, highlighting the inadequacy of the performances around him. That is not a problem here. That the excellent stage veteran Ms. Hecht holds her own with Mr. Schreiber is no surprise. That Ms. Johansson does — with seeming effortlessness — is.
In recent years Broadway’s stages have been littered with dim performances from bright screen stars, including Julia Roberts and Katie Holmes. Film actresses as famous as Ms. Johansson tend to create their own discomfort zones onstage, defined by the mixed expectations of fans and skeptics. I was definitely aware of that zone when I saw Keira Knightley in “The Misanthrope” in London recently.
From left, Jessica Hecht, Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Spector and Liev Schreiber.
CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times
By comparison, Ms. Johansson melts into her character so thoroughly that her nimbus of celebrity disappears. Her Catherine is a girl on the cusp of womanhood, feeling her way down familiar paths that have suddenly been shrouded in unfamiliar shadows.
The production’s three stars form a closely drawn, illuminating graph of degrees of awareness: Ms. Hecht’s taut, vigilant Beatrice is the most fully conscious, forever taking the measure of what’s amiss. Mr. Schreiber’s Eddie is a study in denial, startled and baffled by physical manifestations of lust and sorrow. Ms. Johansson’s Catherine exists between the two, slowly becoming cognizant of what Beatrice already knows and Eddie refuses to admit.
As the young Italian who falls in love with Catherine, Mr. Spector is burdened by an unfortunate blond coif and by having had to step in for Santino Fontana, a fine actor who left the production after a physical injury. Yet Mr. Spector’s Rodolpho is both as silly and serious as he needs to be, and becomes a credible catalyst to grim events. Mr. Stoll is excellent as the relatively silent Marco. And Mr. Cristofer finds a bona fide character within his thankless narrator’s role.
The subtlety that imbues every performance is extended to the unobtrusive stylishness of Jane Greenwood’s 1950s costumes, Peter Kaczorowski’s melancholy lighting and John Lee Beatty’s revolving set. For the show’s still shocking climactic scene, Mr. Beatty’s streetscape of Brooklyn tenements has quietly shifted to suggest a much older world, of ancient coliseums where blood darkens stones.
Without your being entirely aware of it, you have been ushered to exactly where Miller wants you to be: the realm of classical tragedy. And to the cast’s infinite credit you realize that these characters not only belong in this world at this moment, but that on some level they always have.
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
By Arthur Miller; directed by Gregory Mosher; sets by John Lee Beatty; costumes by Jane Greenwood; lighting by Peter Kaczorowski; sound by Scott Lehrer; hair and wig design by Tom Watson; dialect coach, Stephen Gabis; production stage manager, William Joseph Barnes; production manager, Hudson Theatrical Associates; general manager, STP/David Turner. Presented by Stuart Thompson, the Araca Group, Jeffrey Finn, Broadway Across American, Olympus Theatricals, Marisa Sechrest, the Weinstein Company, Jon B. Platt, Sonia Friedman Productions/Robert G. Bartner, Mort Swinsky/Joseph Deitch, Adam Zotovich/Ruth Hendel/Orin Wolf, Shelter Island Enterprises and the Shubert Organization. At the Cort Theater, 138 West 48th Street, Manhattan; (212) 239-6200. Through April 4. Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes.
WITH: Liev Schreiber (Eddie), Scarlett Johansson(Catherine), Jessica Hecht (Beatrice), Michael Cristofer (Alfieri), Morgan Spector (Rodolpho), Corey Stoll (Marco), Alex Cendese (Submarine), Anthony DeSando (First Immigration Officer), Antoinette LaVecchia (Mrs. Lipari), Matthew Montelongo (Tony/Submarine), Mark Morettini (Mr. Lipari), Joe Ricci (Mike), Robert Turano (Louis) and Marco Verna (Second Immigration Officer).