New York Magazine

American Dreaming

A new Death of a Salesman in pursuit of Black happiness.


A GOOD REVIVAL of a classic play, like a good cover song, doesn’t just transform the original but unearths new treasures that have been buried in it all along; a great revival or cover in turn inscribes these new values into the work ever after. And so, as with Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” or John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things,” any future rendition of Arthur Miller’s 1949 Death of a Salesman will rightly be measured against the ambitions and achievemen­ts of the play’s latest Broadway revival, a stunning import from London’s Young Vic.

It is not only the casting of the striving Lomans as a Black family that makes this Salesman a departure (the idea has been tried before, most notably in a 2009 production at Yale

Rep starring Charles Dutton, though never on Broadway). It is also that the director, Miranda Cromwell, apparently taking inspiratio­n from Miller’s original title, Inside of His Head, has rendered much of the play as a dissonant fever dream with flying set pieces,

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