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March 19, 2004

 Playwright Arthur Miller plans visit to U-M

Editors: This event is being telecast on the University of Michigan educational outreach channel 22 in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Comcast cable TV system and on channel 22 in the U-M's on-campus UMTV cable TV system.

Miller

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—World-renowned playwright and University of Michigan alumnus Arthur Miller will return to campus for "A Conversation with Arthur Miller," on April 1.

Miller will speak about his experiences at the University and the challenges and rewards of being a playwright, in a discussion facilitated by Mark Lamos, visiting adjunct professor in theater, and Enoch Brater, professor of English. The April 1 event is sold out.

Miller is visiting the campus in conjunction with "An Arthur Miller Celebration," a production of well-known and rarely performed Miller works being produced by the U-M Department of Theatre and Drama of the School of Music. Conceived by Lamos, an internationally acclaimed director, the production highlights the depth of work Miller has contributed to the American and world stage. "An Arthur Miller Celebration" plays April 2-3 and April 8-10 at 8 p.m. and April 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. at the Trueblood Theater in the Frieze Building on State Street in Ann Arbor.

Arthur Miller is a Pulitzer Prize winner, recipient of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and winner of the nation's most distinguished honor in the arts, The Kennedy Center Honors. He visits his alma mater occasionally to meet and work with students in the theater program. He last visited the U-M campus in 2000 when the University mounted The Arthur Miller International Symposium, "Arthur Miller's America: Theater and Culture in a Century of Change."

A native of New York City, Miller graduated from U-M in 1938. He initially studied history and economics, but earned a degree in English. While at U-M, Miller won two prestigious Hopwood Awards for playwriting before graduating and moving back to New York where he survived the failure of a Broadway play and found moderate success in two books. His first theatrical success was in 1947 when "All My Sons" ran for 328 performances on Broadway. That triumph was soon followed by the Pulitzer Prize for "Death of a Salesman" in 1949 and his successful 1953 production, "The Crucible."

"In 1936, as a student at the University of Michigan, the National Youth Administration paid me $15 a month to feed a couple of thousand mice in a cancer research laboratory. I washed dishes for my meals, but without that NYA money, I couldn't have paid my room rent and would no doubt have had to leave school. Jobs in those times were next to impossible to find, Miller said.

"In 1938 when I graduated I managed to get into the WPA Writers Project —$22.77 a week–for six months until the project was shut down. In that time I wrote a tragedy for the stage about the conquest of Mexico and perhaps more important, managed to break into writing for commercial radio. The government's help in both instances was brief but crucial, he said.

Lamos is currently directing the West Coast premiere of Miller's newest work, "Resurrection Blues" at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. Lamos' work has been seen at U-M as a consulting director for "Hamlet," "The Tempest" and in a developmental staged reading of Lee Blessing's "Thief River." As a director, Lamos has previously collaborated on developing scripts for theater and opera with acclaimed playwrights such as Tom Stoppard, A. R. Gurney, Tony Kushner, Lanford Wilson and composer John Harbison, including the world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera of "The Great Gatsby."

Lamos has worked at numerous regional and international theatres including directing "Desire Under the Elms" at Moscow's Pushkin Theater, making him the first American to direct a Russian company in the former U.S.S.R. His extensive work in opera includes new productions for the Met as well as numerous productions for New York City, San Francisco and Glimmerglass operas.

Brater is well-known internationally for his seminal studies of Samuel Beckett and other modern dramatists, and has lectured widely in Japan, Argentina, Israel, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, England and at major university campuses and theater festivals throughout the United States and Canada.  He has two new books on Arthur Miller slated for publication later this year: "Arthur Miller's America: Theater and Culture in a Time of Change" (University of Michigan Press) and "The Stages of Arthur Miller" (Thames and Hudson, London). A third book, "Global Miller,"will be published by the University of Michigan Press in 2005.

Founded in 1880, the University of Michigan School of Music is one of the finest music schools in the United States. Featuring internationally renowned faculty, and encompassing programs in dance, music, musical theatre, and theater, the school consistently attracts students of the highest caliber.  School of Music graduates grace the stage and produce, direct, compose, write, design and teach in the world arts community.

Contact: Rachel Francisco
Phone: (734) 764-0594
E-mail: rachaf@umich.edu