BWW Review: Merrick Theatre's THE CRUCIBLE

BWW Review: Merrick Theatre's THE CRUCIBLE

Oh my goodness, what a powerful production and remarkable cast is offered in Merrick Theatre's latest The Crucible. Arthur Miller's 1953 Tony winning play is - perhaps - often produced, but when you have a showing of this caliber, it certainly warrants another look. Now playing at the adorable Long Island venue through March 4th, Merrick's incarnation is superbly directed by Daniel C. Higgins.

This tale is set at the end of the seventeenth century during the horrific Salem witch trials. The legend, if I am correct, is that Mr. Miller was inspired to write this story as a parallel to when the United States government ostracized people for being communists without firm evidence (see McCarthyism). In fact, Mr. Miller himself was interrogated by the Committee on Un-American Activities in the 1950's and convicted of contempt of Congress, so he seems to have felt this process was a witch hunt.

Among the stellar ensemble cast is Nikki Silva - in her Merrick Theatre debut - who strongly portrays Abigail, the niece of Reverend Parris (portrayed by Gary Tifeld) and former maid for Elizabeth and John Proctor (Jillian Graziosa and Joe Baquet, respectively). In a gripping role, initially Abigail is suspected of having an affair with John Proctor. Once the Proctor's dismiss and disgrace Abigail, she uses her position as Parris' niece to accuse countless citizens of witchcraft in an act of revenge. This sets up the rest of the three hour production (don't worry, it is completely worth it).

When you see this as Ms. Silva's debut performance, you'll agree a bright future lies before her. The delivery and prowess are impressive particularly since this is a period piece. Mr. Baquet is also thrilling as John Proctor giving a very powerful and commanding performance. In truth, I could go on and on about the extraordinary company.

Upon entering the intimate theatre, you'll immediately notice there is no set. Literally, the stage is completely bare. They bring chairs and other props out here and there, but really nothing is on the stage with the players. And remarkable is that the company has you thoroughly captivated for the entire show with Nicholas Cariello's sullen lighting as an added touch. If I did had one minor qualm, possibly the costumes could have been more relevant for the time the story takes place. The dresses for the women are fine, but the men seem to have more modern attire.

And so, The Crucible is indeed another hit for Merrick Theatre. A riveting story and excellent cast make for an affecting night of theatre.


By Arthur Miller, Directed by Daniel C. Higgins, Stage Management by Matthew Rosenberg, Original Music by Evan Seickel, Lighting Design by Nicholas Cariello, Costume Design by Thea Sieban

Starring Gary Tifeld, Lily Hodson Tituba, Nikki Silva, Tara Shaw, Rosemary Kurtz, Joe DiPietro, Jamie Haughney, Cassidy O'Brien, Joe Baquet, Lynda Gaug, James Connors, John Brautigam, Jillian Graziosa, John Rowe, Pat Darienzo, Joe Pepe, Tim Smith

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From This Author Melissa Giordano

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