“It’s a treat to be here tonight,” New York governor Andrew M. Cuomo said from the stage of Broadway’s Lyceum Theater. “I’ve been shoveling snow for two days.”
Like the audience he addressed Jan. 25, Cuomo braved post-blizzard urban snowbanks for the starry, one-night-only event “Arthur Miller: One Night, One Hundred Years,” a fundraiser for the Arthur Miller Foundation for Theater and Film Education. The foundation, co-chaired by Miller’s daughter, filmmaker Rebecca Miller, is committed to ensuring that theater and film have a place in New York City public schools, as well as promoting student access and supporting teachers. Cuomo came to back the foundation’s goals. “Science gives us facts, but the humanities teach us feelings,” he said.
Soon thereafter, big-name actors and well-known playwrights took the stage to read excerpts of Arthur Miller’s work. On the lineup: Bradley Cooper, charming the audience with a scene from”After the Fall,” performed with Tony winner Nina Arianda; Ron Leibman, killing it in a scene from “The Price” alongside John Turturro; and Jake Gyllenhaal, Ellen Barkin and Alec Baldwin in an emotional scene from “All My Sons.” Laurence Fishburne and Peter Sarsgaard kicked off the evening with a scene from “Death of a Salesman,” and it wrapped with another excerpt from the same play, this one starring LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Ray Fisher (soon to appear onscreen as DC universe hero Cyborg) and McKinley Belcher III.
Jackson’s dream role from the Miller canon? Linda Loman, the one she played Monday night. “It’s so daunting too have been asked to do this,” she said just before the show started. “I am never intimidated by reading anything, but this time, I’ve been like, ‘Dear God, dear God, dear God!’ But who wouldn’t want to be her?”
The event also celebrated the 100th birthday of Miller, who was born in October 1915. Broadway’s informal centennial celebration of Miller will continue on Broadway, where “A View From the Bridge” is now playing and a production of “The Crucible,” starring Saoirse Ronan, is lined up to start performances later this spring.