ALL MY SONS
Directed by Linda Alznauer
A gripping and emotion-filled production of Arthur Miller’s ALL MY SONS is on offer Upstairs at the Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood, wonderfully directed by Linda Alznauer.
Arthur Miller based ALL MY SONS on a true story in the 1940s of a conspiracy between army officers and an American company to approve defective warplane engines, all the while knowing they could jeopardize the lives of pilots flying over enemy territory during the war. Two men…one taking the fall, and the other evading responsibility for his actions. The choices these two men make determine their fate, but also eventually tear apart the families they are trying to protect with devastating consequences.
Joe Keller (John Wallace Combs) is the patriarch of the Keller family, husband to Kate Keller (Diane Frank) who is denying that her son Larry died three years ago and continues to wait for him to return. Second son Chris Keller (Mikel Parraga-Wills) struggles with his mother’s denials and his father’s lack of taking responsibility for his past. Chris and Ann Deever (Kristin Towers-Rowles) are planning to marry. But there are conflicts here as well, both with Kate’s denials, and Ann’s brother George (Kevin Hoffman) who blames the entire Keller family for his father’s imprisonment. Neighbors Dr. Jim Bayliss (Bruce Nehlsen), Sue Bayliss (Helen O’Brien), Frank Lubey (Mark Anthony), Lydia Lubey (Shalonda Shaw-Reese), and little boy Bert (Andrew Grigorian) all share in the secrets of the Keller and Deever families. Very good performances by all the cast, wonderful direction by Linda Alznauer, and, as always, great set by Chris Winfield, et al, as we have come to expect from the Group Rep.
The American Dream is challenged in this play and leaves us torn between our own ethical standards, and what seems to be an unfortunate choice that we are sometimes faced with when our family’s needs and future are at stake. The choices we make aren’t always the right ones.
After seeing this play, I thought about how I wanted to go on stage and separate all the families, their anger, and the angst that was tormenting them. That’s how much I was connected to the play’s writing, but also to the actors depicting these characters. I wanted to tell them to stop pointing fingers at each other. Stop denying what was reality. I wanted them to realize how important it was to listen to each other, not prejudge, not to forego everything you know. But of course, it is a play. It isn’t real life. Sometimes there are similarities that we haven’t forgiven.
Arthur Miller’s ALL MY SONS is a heart-wrenching story and one that should definitely be on your list of MUST-SEES. It’s a hard-hitting, tough storyline filled with ethical questions, and emotion-filled moments. A wonderful night of good theatre in North Hollywood.
Cast: Mark Anthony, John Wallace Combs, Diane Frank, Andrew Grigorian, Kevin Hoffman, Rudy McCollum, Bruce Nehlsen, Helen O’Brien, Mikel Parraga-Wills, Savannah Schoenecker, Shalonda Shaw-Reese, and Kristin Towers-Rowles.
Director: Linda Alznauer
Producers for the Group Rep: Diane Frank and Linda Alznauer
Stage Manager: John Ledley
Set Design: Chris Winfield
Sound Design: Steve Shaw
Costume Design: Cheryl Crosland
Production Photography: Doug Engalla
Public Relations: Nora Feldman
Graphic Design: Doug Haverty + Art & Soul Design
The Lonny Chapman Theatre – Second Floor
Upstairs at the Group Rep
10900 Burbank Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Tickets: General Admission: $20; Seniors/Students with ID: $17;
Buy Tickets: www.thegrouprep.com or 818-763-5990
Runs: June 30 - August 5, 2018
Saturday Matinees at 2 pm; Sunday Evenings at 7:00 pm;
Talkbacks after Saturday Matinees July 7 and July 21.