A+ A A-

Grand opening set for Arthur Miller Theatre

  • Contact Frank Provenzano
Play, international symposium part of U-M's year-long exploration of the arts

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—In the spirit of the late Arthur Miller, who believed the arts could have a transformative impact on American society, the University of Michigan announces the much-anticipated opening of a theatre named for America's greatest playwright whose works reflect the themes, disillusionments and imperative moral issues of the second-half of the twentieth century.

The Arthur Miller Theatre on the Ann Arbor campus will open March 29; it is the only venue in the world named for the quintessential American playwright. The theatre is located within the Walgreen Drama Center on the University's North Campus, home to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the School of Art and Design, and the School of Architecture and the College of Engineering.

" With the theatre comes an obligation to offer drama students and audiences the type of compelling and honest portrayals found in Arthur Miller's seminal works," said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. " Opening the doors of the theatre is both a symbol and an invitation for students, the University community, and the public to join a discourse about values, morality, and the promise of how the arts can broaden our horizons."

The Arthur Miller Theatre opening and a symposium featuring internationally acclaimed Miller scholars are signature events in the newly announced U-Michigan initiative, Arts on Earth, an exploration of the profound dynamic relationship between humans and the arts worldwide.

Arts on Earth will kick off with an opening event in early winter.

In addition to concerts, plays, and exhibits of works from all over the world, Arts on Earth will convene interactive symposia with artists, students, scholars and the public. Learn-ins will explore topics such as the intrinsic effects of humans' involvement with the arts, economics and the arts, and the function of the arts during wartime. In late December, a Web site will list a calendar of events and feature stories on issues and people participating in this unprecedented exploration of the role of the arts in our lives.

A playwright's legacy

For the historic opening of the Arthur Miller Theatre, the Department of Theatre & Drama will present Miller's " Playing for Time," which is based on a harrowing biographical account of a part-Jewish French cabaret singer forced by the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele and the Nazis to play in the women's orchestra at Auschwitz death camp.

The play was originally adapted for television in 1980, and won a Peabody and four Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Special and Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or Special; it also was nominated for a Golden Globe.

The symposium, " Global Miller," will examine Arthur Miller's influence, impact and legacy on international theatre. Throughout his life, Miller dedicated himself to find ways to focus public awareness on unjust and often controversial issues, from his defiant decision " not to name names" before the House on Un-American Activities Committee in 1956 to his vision as president of PEN in the mid 1960s, when he led the worldwide literary membership to take positions on what he called " the conscience of the world writing community."

" The Global Miller Symposium," March 29