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The Price Review
Despite its flaws, the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Arthur Miller’s The Price is a potent and penetrating family drama. Director Terry Kinney has trouble navigating tonal shifts, but the play reaches a powerful climax, as two middle-aged brothers finally air the rage and resentment that has been simmering for decades.

Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) and Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub (Monk) play siblings Victor and Walter Franz, estranged for 16 years and eventually brought together in 1968 to dispose of their parents’ antiquated furniture before the old home is torn down.

But we don’t meet Walter, a successful surgeon, until the end of Act I. The bulk of that first hour consists of Victor and his wife, Esther (Jessica Hecht), discussing when he’ll take his pension and leave the force, and Victor then trying to get an elderly appraiser, Gregory Solomon — played with broadly comic elan by Danny DeVito, in his Broadway debut — to tell him how much the furniture is worth and cart it off.

“The price of used furniture is nothing but a viewpoint,” Solomon tells the Vic, a former science student who dropped out of college after the 1929 stock market crash to care for his ruined father, and has been a beat cop since. But here varying viewpoints aren’t only about money. Miller explores the different ways that the brothers’ saw their parents, especially their father following his downfall and the death of their mother soon after.

Victor saw him as a broken, tragic figure, but to Walter, the older brother, he was conniving. When the pair finally face each other, Victor realizes that Walter, at least for the last few years, hasn’t led the charmed life he’d imagined he did. Walter tries to persuade Victor that their father wasn’t as broke as he claimed, and there’s also the matter of the furniture, which Walter claims is worth more than the appraiser’s offer.

Playing Victor with a thick New York accent, Ruffalo summons up a tornado of feelings as his brother takes him deep into their past, pushes him to rethink what happened and offers a truce. But Shalhoub’s Walter comes across as too obviously insincere, and part of the play’s tension should come from wondering whether Walter actually wants to help his brother or just squelch his own guilt about the past.

Although he’s offstage for much of the second act, the roly-poly DeVito makes the most of his featured role, eliciting laughs from the audience even on lines that aren’t particularly funny (and, some might say, throwing the show off-balance). But if that’s the price of reviving a lesser-known drama on Broadway, it’s worth it.

By Diane Snyder

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Mark Ruffalo, Tony Shalhoub, Jessica Hecht, Danny DeVito

Open/Close Dates
Opening 3/16/2017
Closing 5/7/2017

Preview Open/ Preview Close Dates
Preview Opening 2/16/2017
Closing Open-ended

Box Office

Theatre Info
American Airlines Theatre
227 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036


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