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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

'The Crucible' opens Thursday on DePauw Theatre stage

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Young women from Salem, Mass., Lillian Reed (played by Mercy Lewis, left), Lanie Gleeson (Abigail Williams, center) and Laura Loy (Susanna Wallcott) react to their situation in a scene from the DePauw Theatre production of "The Crucible." The Arthur Miller drama opens Thursday night at the Green Center for the Performing Arts.
Broadway star and DePauw University alumnus David Cryer leads the cast of a new production of Arthur Miller's Tony-award winning play, "The Crucible," which opens Thursday (tonight) at 7:30 p.m.

The second play of DePauw Theatre's 2012-13 season, "The Crucible" is directed by Susan Anthony. It opens Thursday in Moore Theatre, located within DePauw's Green Center for the Performing Arts.

The opening night performance will be followed by a reception in the Great Hall. Two more performances will be staged this weekend, on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. (with a talk back immediately following the performance) and Sunday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

Five additional performances are slated Tuesday, Nov. 13 through Saturday, Nov. 17, all beginning at 7:30 p.m. The extended performance schedule is part of the DePauw campus-wide conversation about Miller's "The Crucible."

Miller's play focuses on the troubling times of Salem, Mass., in the late 1600s. After a group of girls are found in the forest late one night, one girl, Betty Parris, falls comatose. Uncertain of the girls' actions, the townspeople of Salem begin to suspect witchcraft. Thus begins a tale of endless accusations and a ruthless witch-hunt against young women.

David Cryer, a 1958 graduate of DePauw, has returned to his alma mater to play Deputy-Governor Danforth in the production. His wife, choreographer and actress Britt Swanson, will portray Rebecca Nurse. Cryer and his wife, as well as other local actors, will participate in the production alongside current DePauw students.

The cast also includes Larry Sutton, professor emeritus of communication and theater at DePauw, and Jack Randall Earles, a frequent Putnam County Playhouse performer.

Cryer portrayed Juan Per--n in the original Broadway production of "Evita" for more than 1,000 performances. From 2006-11, Cryer played opera manager Firmin in the Broadway production of "The Phantom of the Opera" after years on national tours in the same role.

Cryer also has appeared regularly in film and TV, with a starring role on TV's "Days of Our Lives" and appearances in "Law and Order," "Dallas" and "Wonder Woman." His big-screen credits include roles in "Escape from Alcatraz" and "American Gigolo."

Britt Swanson has performed in several Broadway productions, including "The Desert Song," "Shelter" and "Come Summer."

A dramatization of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Miller wrote "The Crucible" as an allegory of McCarthyism, when the U.S. government blacklisted accused communists. As such, the play drew attention toward Miller for his political activities. He was questioned in 1956 by the House Committee of Un-American Activities and was later convicted of "contempt of congress" for refusing to give up names of people who participated in similar activity.

The play opened on Broadway in 1953. Despite hostile reception and Miller's thoughts that the performance was too stylized and cold, "The Crucible" won a Tony Award for Best Play that year. It has been adapted for film in 1958 by Jean-Paul Sartre and in 1996 by Arthur Miller himself.

Tickets for "The Crucible" are $3 for students and $6 for adults and are available by calling the Green Center Box Office at 658-4827.

The public is also invited to meet the accusers and the accused at a "Witch Trial" from 11:40 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Friday in Moore Theatre as the cast previews the famous trial scene. The preview is free and open to all.

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