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‘The Crucible’ kicks off Buffalo’s fall of Arthur Miller

It’s the autumn of Arthur Miller on Buffalo’s theater scene.

“Death of a Salesman,” the best-known play by the beloved American playwright, will open Nov. 7 in the Irish Classical Theatre Company’s Andrews Theatre in a production starring John Fredo as Willie Loman. But before that, and just in time for Halloween, audiences will have a chance to dig into another chilling Miller masterwork, “The Crucible,” in a production directed by Drew McCabe opening at 7:30 Thursday in the American Repertory Theatre’s space in the Church of the Ascension (16 Linwood Ave.).

The play, as you may remember from 10th-grade English class, deals with the Salem witch trials of 1692, which Miller deployed as a clear and unabashed allegory for the scourge of McCarthyism in the 1950s. It is a story about the awful virulence of distrust, the organic rise of the mob mentality and the latent tendencies toward totalitarianism embedded in even the most seemingly democratic processes.

“I believe he is the American equivalent of Shakespeare. He has a voice which can reach through eras and ring true in numerous different aspects of life,” McCabe said, adding that some sections have been streamlined or accelerated to fit the attention spans of modern audiences, but that “it’s such a well-written piece there’s nothing to really tinker or reinvent.”

The production’s sizable cast stars Thomas LaChiusa as John Proctor, Lisa Vitrano as Elizabeth Proctor, Christopher Standart as Judge Danforth and Sara Marioles-Mitch as Abigail Williams. Tickets are $18 to $25, with more info at 634-1102 or

– Colin Dabkowski

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