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Theater and Politics
January 2, 2009

John Lithgow is appearing now in a timely revival of Arthur Miller's classic play, ALL MY SONS. Although written 61 years ago, it seems to have jumped off the pages of today's newspapers. Lithgow plays Joe Keller — a loving family man with a terrible secret. During the second world war, he cravenly cut corners for profit at his manufacturing plant, shipping damaged parts to the military and causing the deaths of 21 pilots. He lets his partner take the rap and go to jail and keeps it secret from the family. The truth is revealed in the play's climactic confrontation between the father and the son who worshipped him.

Discover more about Arthur Miller, and the long history of theater and politics in our photo essay and from the links below.

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Published on January 2, 2009.

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References and Reading:
Arthur Miller
AMERICAN MASTERS: Arthur Miller, None Without Sin
The PBS series explores Miller's work.

"WHY I WROTE "THE CRUCIBLE" An artist's answer to politics.
Arthur Miller reflects on the politics and theater of the 1950s for THE NEW YORKER in 1996.

In 2004, Bill Moyers talked with Herman Gollob about Shakespeare for today. Also, check out Shakespeare Knowledge Quiz. and the Web site for the PBS series IN SEARCH OF SHAKESPEARE.

Mark Twain
In 2004, Bill Moyers talked with actor Hal Holbrook about his stage portrayal of American writer Mark Twain. Also, check out The Legacy of Mark Twain and the Twain Trivia Quiz

More Moyers on the Theater
In 2002 and 2003, Bill Moyers talked with theater director Mary Zimmerman about her production of METAMORPHOSES (retelling of myths for modern times) and THE NOTEBOOKS OF LEONARDO DA VINCI. Also, check out Da Vinci and Genius Online and the Mythology Quiz

In Bill Moyers talked with film and theater director Julie Taymor, the creative genius behind the film FRIDA, the Metropolitan Opera's production of THE MAGIC FLUTE and the Broadway extravaganza, THE LION KING.

Additional Resources

American Political Satire

The Living Theatre

Also This Week:

Actor John Lithgow. He's played heroes, villains, saints, sinners, a ballet-dancing elephant, and a space alien, now actor and children's author John Lithgow — best known as Dick Solomon from NBC's hit show 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN — reveals a new side of himself ... poetry lover.

Traverse the history of political theater from the Ancient Greeks to Shakespeare to Arthur Miller and Off Off Broadway.

Celebrate poetry with selections from the JOURNAL and the Moyers Digital Archives.

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