Josh Stamberg (The Affair, Parenthood) will take on the role of playwright Arthur Miller in Fall, a new play written by Bernard Weinraub, the former film reporter for The New York Times, and produced by Todd Black and Steve Tisch of Escape Artists, the film production company behind such movies as Southpaw and The Pursuit of Happyness.
A co-presentation with Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company, where the play will have its world premiere in a May 18-June 16 engagement, Fall tells the true story of Miller’s “secret” son Daniel, the child the Death of a Salesman playwright had with third wife Inge Morath. Born with Down syndrome, Daniel was institutionalized, his existence never acknowledged by his parents.
The cast also includes Joanne Kelly as Morath, Joanna Glushak as a character named Dr. Wise, and in the role of Daniel, Nolan James Tierce, a local actor with Down syndrome. John Hickok will play Broadway producer Robert Whitehead.
Fall‘s director is Peter DuBois, the Huntington Artistic Director. Fall will be staged at the Huntington’s Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.
“Arthur Miller was one of our greatest playwrights,” said Weinraub. “His best dramas dealt with fathers and sons, guilt and betrayal and, essentially, our responsibility towards each other. He dealt with the paradoxes and tensions of our lives. What interested me here was the contradiction between the man and the artist. And the impact of his actions on his art.”
Said director DuBois, “Miller wrote many plays about the sins of a father being visited on a son, and as a writer he provided a moral compass for a generation. Bernie’s exploration of this iconic man is a story that remained with me since the first time I read the script a few years ago. I’m proud Boston audiences will be the first to see this show and discover more about a playwright they thought they knew.”
Miller, of course, was among the last century’s most successful American playwrights, his work making up a roster unrivaled by few in impact: Death of a Salesman, All My Sons, A View from the Bridge, The Crucible. He stood against the House Un-American Activities Committee and was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.
But he excised son Daniel from any public mention, with no references to Daniel in Miller’s autobiography Timebends or his obituary in The New York Times. Weinraub says he became interested in the Millers’ story after reading a Vanity Fair article in 2007, and that he then took a journalist’s approach to translating the story for the stage – he interviewed, among others, social workers who knew and worked with the family.
The production describes Fall as an exploration of “the fascinating dichotomy of Miller’s life with Morath (the couple also had a daughter Rebecca) and the divide between their public personae and their private lives.”
In addition to the Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer Southpaw and The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith, Escape Artists’ roster of films includes Smith’s Seven Pounds, Hope Springs with Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell, The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington, and the remake of The Magnificent Seven starring Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke.