Center Theatre Group donors celebrated legendary playwright Arthur Miller's The Price at a special opening night dinner, held Saturday, February 21, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed live harp music — a nod to the show they were about to see — caught up with familiar faces and got to know new ones. During the dinner, Michael Ritchie thanked Artistic Director’s Circle member Deidra Norman Schumann for her generous contribution to the show. He also talked a bit about his history with Arthur Miller and how excited he was to have this play at the Mark Taper Forum: The Price is one of only two plays he has produced twice, and his wife, Kate Burton, plays the part of Esther in this production.
"I fall in love with her every time I see her onstage," Ritchie said.
Ritchie then introduced director Garry Hynes, a Tony Award-winner for The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Hynes said she was quick to jump onboard to direct The Price. She has known Ritchie and Burton for quite some time, and she was eager to work with the two of them and Alan Mandell.
After dinner, guests ventured to the Mark Taper Forum for the 8 p.m. performance. In the play, two brothers who haven't spoken to each other in 16 years come together to settle their late father's estate. Victor (played by Sam Robards), a police officer of 28 years; his brother, Walter (John Bedford Lloyd), a successful surgeon; and Victor's wife, Esther (Kate Burton), gather in the attic of the family's New York brownstone, where they are met by Solomon, a wise and wily antiques dealer (Alan Mandell). It is not only years of accumulation of family belongings that need sorting out, but also the hidden motives that long ago fractured the brothers' relationship.
An American classic, The Price first opened on Broadway in 1968. Clive Barnes, writing for The New York Times, said the play was "one of the most engrossing and entertaining plays that Miller has ever written."
Arthur Miller's plays include The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944), All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View From the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall and Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), The Archbishop's Ceiling (1977) and The American Clock (1980), among others.
He wrote the screenplay for The Misfits (1960) and several books, including three with his wife, photographer Inge Morath. He received many awards throughout his career, including the Pulitzer Prize (Death of a Salesman), three Tony Awards and a Tony Award for lifetime achievement, two Emmy Awards and the John F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award.