James Black to Star in DEATH OF A SALESMAN at Alley Theatre, 9/28-10/28


Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd announces the cast and creative team for the Alley Theatre's production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. The Alley's association with Miller dates back to 1954, when Alley founder Nina Vance direcTed Miller's masterpiece Death of a Salesman. The Alley has produced 12 of Miller's plays: a 1997 staging of Death of a Salesman; All My Sons in 1955, 1984, and 2000 (in a collaboration with the University of Houston); A View from the Bridge (1957, 1989 and 1999); and three productions of The Crucible.

In 2005, Arthur Miller passed away days after the Alley closed After the Fall and was in rehearsal for The Crucible. Both plays were programmed as a tribute to Arthur Miller, who would have celebrated his 90th birthday on October 17, 2005. In 1984, Miller visited the Alley to receive the inaugural Alley Award, created by the Alley Board of Directors to recognize significant contributions to the theatrical arts. The celebration coincided with the Alley's 1984 production of All My Sons and also included excerpts from Miller's plays performed by many renowned actors, including Robert Duvall, Frank Langella, and Colleen Dewhurst, who was mistress of ceremonies.

The return to the Alley of Arthur Miller's Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Death of a Salesman is particularly relevant today. The play juxtaposes the American Dream with the realities of a fluctuating economy, unequal opportunities, and unfair advantages, with vivid characters and consummate theatricality. As salesman Willy Loman approaches the end of his working life, he must reconcile his unrealized dreams while struggling against the current world. Recommended for general audiences; mature themes.

Alley Theatre Company Member James Black, celebrating his 25th consecutive season at the Alley, will play Willy Loman. Death of a Salesman also features Josie de Guzman as Linda, Zachary Spicer as Biff, and Jay Sullivan as Happy. In addition to Black as Willy Loman, Death of a Salesman features Alley Theatre Resident Company Members Jeffrey Bean, James Belcher, Emily Neves, Melissa Pritchett, Jay Sullivan and Todd WaiteThe Cast of Death of a Salesman also includes Ellen Dyer as Jenny, Drew Hirshfield, Rebekah Stevens, and Sidney Williams.

Death of a Salesman includes scenic design by Hugh Landwehr and costume design by Judith Dolan. Lighting design is by Pat Collins with original composition and sound design by Josh Schmidt, dialect coach Pamela Prather and Assistant Director and Dramaturg Jacey Little.

Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller and directed by Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd, begins performances Friday, September 28, opens officially Wednesday, October 3, and runs through Sunday, October 28 on the Hubbard Stage.

Born in Manhattan in 1915, Arthur Miller's career began as a student at the University of Michigan where he received several awards for playwriting. His first play, The Man Who Had All the Luck, only ran for one week in 1944. However, Miller's next play, All My Sons, was highly regarded, receiving the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and two Tony Awards in 1947. His next work, Death of a Salesman, opened on Broadway in 1949 garnering a Tony Award, the New York Drama Critics Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. Miller's early plays include The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, A Memory of Two Mondays, After the Fall, Incident at Vichy, The Price, The Creation of the World and Other Business, The Archbishop's Ceiling, The American Clock and Playing for Time. His later plays include The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, The Last Yankee, Broken Glass, Mr. Peter's Connections, Resurrection Blues, and Finishing the Picture. Miller's other works include the novel Focus, the screenplay The Misfits, and the memoir Timebends: A Life. Among many other honors, Miller received three Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, an Emmy, an Obie, the George Foster Peabody Award, the John F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Alley Award, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Lifetime Achievement Award, the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Prix Moliere of the French theatre. Later in life, Miller was named the Jefferson Lecturer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, given the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, and the Jerusalem Prize.

James Black (Willy Loman) is proud to be celebrating his 25th consecutive season at the Alley where as an actor and occasional director, he has been involved in over one hundred productions. Recent appearances include Black Coffee as Hercule Poirot, Noises Off as Lloyd Dallas, The Seafarer as James "Sharky" Harkin, The Seagull as Trigorin, Dividing the Estate as Lewis Gordon, Pygmalion as Colonel Pickering, Amadeus as Count Orsini-Rosenberg, August: Osage County as Steve Heidebrecht, Peter Pan as Captain Hook/ Mr. Darling, St. Nicholas, Boeing-Boeing as Bernard, Harvey as Elwood P. Dowd, Mrs. Mannerly as Jeffrey, Our Town as Stage Manager, The Farnsworth Invention, Rock 'n' Roll as Max, The Man Who Came to Dinner as SheriDan Whiteside, A Christmas Carol as Mrs. Dilber/ Jacob Marley, Cyrano de Bergerac as Le Bret, Othello as Iago, Arsenic and Old Lace as Jonathan Brewster, Treasure Island as Long John Silver, Hitchcock Blonde as Hitch, A Moon for the Misbegotten as James Tyrone Jr., Orson's Shadow as Olivier, Journey's End as Lieutenant Osborne, A Christmas Carol as Scrooge, The Crucible as Proctor, After the Fall as Quentin, Black Coffee as Hercule Poirot, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum as Marcus Lycus, Twelfth Night as Sir Toby Belch, Sherlock Holmes as Moriarty, Hamlet as Claudius, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as George, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest as McMurphy, How I Learned to Drive as Uncle Peck, A View From the Bridge as Eddie Carbone, and Not About Nightingales as Butch O'Fallon, among others. He has also directed A Behanding in Spokane, Doubt, Death on the Nile, Glengarry Glen Ross, Deathtrap, Dial "M" for Murder, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Foreigner, Of Mice and Men and As Bees in Honey Drown. His film and television credits include Olympia, The Man with the Perfect Swing, Houston: The Legend of Texas, Fire and Rain, Challenger, Night Game, and Killing in a Small Town. He received a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut and a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actor for Not About Nightingales, and a BackStage West Garland Award for his appearance as Eddie Carbone in the Alley's production of A View from the Bridge.

Tickets to Death of a Salesman start at $26. All tickets to Death of a Salesman are available for purchase at alleytheatre.org, at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by calling 713.220.5700. 

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