I’m not sure if I have mentioned this yet, or if it comes across at all when you read this, but I am stupid excited for you to see Death of a Salesman. This production has 11 incredibly talented actors at the top of their game. Some you have seen before, others this is their first introduction (and what an introduction!). I just saw a run through of the second act. There was no costumes, or lighting. There are no sets except for a table and some chairs. The actors almost all carry scripts. But in the climactic scene around a family dinner table and the denouement that follows I am not ashamed to tell you I nearly wept it was so beautiful. On our first read through Bob Neu told us that he has a hard time getting through a reading of this play, let alone a performance and we shouldn’t be shocked if he starts to cry during rehearsal. I thought he was trying to be funny or overdramatic, but now I understand. He got a little teary today too.
I’m going to go over a few of the actors in this show and tell you why I love them and why you should be deliriously excited about seeing this show.
Warren Sampson (Willy Loman): The last time we saw Warren on the Lyric Arts Stage was this past Christmas in Annie where he played Drake the Butler, but it is for this show that he will be remembered for at Lyric Arts. Willy Loman is one of the most tragic characters in American Theatre and Warren plays him with such ferocity and honesty that you are immediately sucked into the story he is trying to tell. When I nearly wept at rehearsal, it was because of Warren.
Martha Wigmore (Linda Loman): Everything this woman does on stage is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The honesty she portrays as a beleaguered wife and mother who only wants what it best for her family is heart wrenching. When Martha talks, you listen, and you believe, and you pity her and marvel and her strength.
Ty Hudson (Biff): Ty plays Willy and Linda’s oldest son Biff. Biff is a bit of a loser when we meet him, but then we get flashes of his high school years and the transformation that Ty makes between these two drastically different personas is remarkable. As the fresh-faced high schooler Ty is all earnestness and happiness, but as the jaded adult dealing with conflicting emotions about his life and his family he is mesmerising.
Max Lorei (Happy): Happy is always happy. He does everything in his power to make sure the same goes for his family, even if it means stretching the truth a little to do it. Max plays Happy carefree and suave, but with just the right amount of sadness and fear running through it to show how much Happy cares about his family.
So this is the Loman family and they are four of the best reasons I can give you to make you come see this incredible show. We also have touching performances from Bill Marshal, Ryan James Coble, and Kirsten Sawyer, all of whom were leads in Lyric’s last show Becky’s New Car, Megan Rodriguez, who is on stage right now in Hello, Dolly!, and Brandon Holscher and Kenny Kiser. Seriously, this cast is the most incredible thing I have ever seen and it would be a shame if you had to miss it.