Old Globe presents Arthur Miller classic ‘Death of a Salesman’ starring Jeffrey DeMunn
By Diana Saenger
If Arthur Miller were alive today he would probably be amused to find two degrees of separation between his Willy Loman character and a killer of zombies. That’s because playing the lead in the Globe’s revival of “Death of a Salesman” is Jeffrey DeMunn, who stars in AMC’s hit television series “The Walking Dead.”
“Death of a Salesman,” directed by Pam MacKinnon (an Obie and Lilly Award winning New York-based director) and winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Play, runs in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theater Jan. 22-Feb. 27.
DeMunn played the role of Willy last year at the Dallas Theater Center and admits he rarely repeats a production. “But in terms of the man and the world he lived at the moment, I knew there was much more I had to learn. So when the opportunity came up, I said yes.”
There’s a reason “Death of a Salesman” continues to be produced around the country, The story of Willy’s misunderstanding of himself throughout his career as a traveling salesman and how he eventually realizes The American Dream has passed him by – is still both poignant and relevant.
“There’s no question that could be said about any well-drawn character in a book or play,” DeMunn said. “Willy is sewn into the fabric of all of our lives, and if that was not so, the play would not be as wonderful, artful or meaningful as it is, mostly because it’s done by Arthur Miller.”
With DeMunn’s impressive resume of nearly 35 years of acting; it’s apparent he could fill any shoes. Called a favorite of writer/producer/director Frank Darabont, DeMunn appeared in “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile,” “The Majestic,” Stephen King’s “The Mist,” the 1988 remake of “The Blob” and the “The Walking Dead.”
Other vast film credits include “Burn After Reading,” “Cayman Went,” “Hollywoodland,” “The X-Files Movie,” “Phenomenon” and “Blaze.” His award-winng TV credits are many. On stage DeMunn’s Broadway credits include “Our Town,” “The Price,” “Bent,” “Spoils of War,” “Sleight of Hand” and “K2” for which he was nominated for a Tony. He also enjoys many off-Broadway credits.
The characters he picks to play are quite diverse, but DeMunn said he has no particular method for getting into character – as a salesman or even a killer. “I often do research or look at footage, but sometimes that may not be appropriate if the script is a little different,” he said. “I just try to see what this human is about, stay as nimble as I can, and always try to tell the truth. ‘The Walking Dead’ was a complete surprise. When I got a call from Frank asking me to come to Atlanta and kill zombies, I said yes without knowing anything about it.”
The “Salesman” cast includes: Jordan Baker, Ben Diskant, Jesse Jensen, Robin Moseley, Tyler Pierce, John Procaccino, Deborah Radloff, Lucas Caleb Rooney, Ryman Sneed, Adrian Sparks and Jonathan Spivey. The creative team features Marion Williams (Scenic Design), Mathew LeFebvre (Costume Design), Rui Rita (Lighting Design), Jeremy J. Lee (Sound Design) and Lavinia Henley (Stage Manager).
If you go
- What: The award-winning drama, “Death of a Salesman”
- Where: Sheryl and Harvey White Theater, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park
- Previews: 8 p.m. Jan. 22, 7 p.m. Jan. 23, 25, 26.
- Performances: 7 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; 7 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 27
- Tickets: $29-$67
- Contact: (619) 23-GLOBE. TheOldGlobe.org
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