Saturday, February 12, 2005

Death of a playwright

Michigan alum's passing seen as end of an era
Saturday, February 12, 2005
News Arts Writer

The death of Arthur Miller, University of Michigan Class of '38 and the man long considered the country's most important playwright, marks a milestone for American theater - and U-M.[...]

Growing up in New York, Miller worked between 1932 and 1934 at various jobs, including truck driver, radio singer and clerk in his father's warehouse, to earn money for college. According to a U-M biography, he came to Ann Arbor by bus with the $500 he had saved to attend college.

During a 2004 campus appearance he recalled that he was attracted to U-M because "this place seemed to me, because of the Hopwood Award, to take writing seriously. I wanted to be a writer in a vague way and thought this was the place to go."

As an undergraduate, Miller stayed in a rooming house at 411 N. State St., and wrote for the Michigan Daily. Another outlet for his writing was the student humor magazine, Gargoyle, where he used the name Art Miller.

Miller won two of U-M's prestigious Hopwood Awards for play writing. His first was for "No Villain," written in 1936 during a week's spring vacation from classes and produced in 1937 by the Hillel Players at U-M under the title "They Too Arise."[...]

Last November, a full house of 1,300 University of Michigan alumni and friends gathered at New York City's Richard Rodgers Theatre to honor Miller at "Michigan on Broadway: A Tribute to Arthur Miller," a revue-style homage by School of Music faculty and U-M alumni.

Planning continues on the long-planned Arthur Miller Theater, to be built on the University of Michigan campus (see related story).Meanwhile, Brater said Miller's legacy is secure.

"Plays like 'A View from a Bridge,' 'The Crucible,' 'All My Sons' and 'After the Fall' ... works like this will be done as long as theaters are functioning anywhere in the world. These plays are done regularly not only in the English-speaking world but they are done in Japan and China and Israel and all over South America and Europe.[...]
© 2005 Ann Arbor News

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