Arthur Miller’s 'The Crucible' returns to Broadway in a new production directed by acclaimed Belgian director Ivo van Hove, who has an inventive take on this timeless parable of morality and intolerance. More…
Set during the Salem witch trials of the 1690s, Arthur Miller's allegorical play focuses on a young farmer, his wife, and a young servant girl who accuses the wife of witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to expose her lie but instead gets caught up in whirlwind of bigotry and deceit as he too is accused and ultimately condemned with a host of others.
"The director Ivo van Hove and a dazzling international cast have plumbed the raw terror in Arthur Miller’s 'The Crucible'. And an endlessly revived historical drama from 1953 suddenly feels like the freshest, scariest play in town...Mr. van Hove knew exactly what he was doing here. All the members of his large ensemble find revealing new shapes within archetypes and insist that we grasp and even sympathize with their characters’ perspectives." Full Review
"Stunning new Broadway revival...The director reaffirms with 'The Crucible' his credentials as one of the most intriguingly imaginative engineers of the modern stage...van Hove assembles a cast with refined antennae for the story’s tempests and tendernesses...Van Hove’s fully-realized version puts ecstatic new flesh on the estimable bones of one of Miller’s greatest plays." Full Review
"I directed a production of 'The Crucible' thirty years ago and have seen several since, but van Hove’s, despite its wildly mixed reviews, and some questionable choices, is the most powerful, riveting, and provocative of them all...The magnetic pull of van Hove’s 'The Crucible' is so strong, even at two hours and forty-five minutes, and its universal message so piercing, that such directorial slip-ups can be forgiven. Clearly, Arthur Miller’s play has withstood the crucible of time." Full Review
"I won’t say a word about Ivo van Hove’s dramatic flair, but it’s very apparent he wanted to excite us visually and dramatically. Many may say it is too much, but I think it works here, once again. His direction and creative storytelling kept me thoroughly engaged and as frustrated as Miller expertly intended...This powerful and superlative cast make an impressive argument, and van Hove’s theatrical flair and intense direction drive this idea home." Full Review
"This is the best, most riveting version of the play I've seen...This just-as-long version is consistently forceful and lightning fast...The entire 38-strong cast vividly give life to their characters...However, van Hove and designer Versweyveld once again give in to their occasional lapse into theatrical overkill...That said, these are minor complaints in the light of a thoroughly satisfying new look at an enduringly absorbing and provocative play." Full Review
"Ivo van Hove’s lucid and often mesmerizing production honors all of those big factors without overwhelming us—unless it’s by the sheer impact of a company so right in nearly every detail, from the major roles to those less so...I think the impact must be quite similar to that felt by theatergoers 63 years ago...The set is the production’s major misstep, a serious one...I have often found his work pretentious and misguided. Not here...This is a definitive production." Full Review
"Almost operatic in their intensity, van Hove's productions are designed to leave audiences agitated and uncomfortable, which is notably the case with this distressing drama, with its steadily amplified sense of horror and indignation...Mesmerizingly acted...The production presents a chilling account of the institutional arrogance and ignorance that are a threat to civil liberties in any age, particularly when the dividing lines separating politics, religion and the judiciary become blurred." Full Review
"In this gut-wrenching, modern-dress 'Crucible' — infused with the visceral suspense and the manipulative underscoring of a horror movie — the director denies us any protective distance from the cumulative modern implications of mass hysteria and hypocrisy. Despite the starry cast, this is a big splendid ensemble of equals. And despite the sprawling locations of Miller’s story, all the action feels unforced into one big country schoolroom." Full Review
"Van Hove has once again pulled off an inspired reimagining of a theatrical classic, which takes a little time to find its rhythm during the first scene, but then canters briskly along throughout the final two hours...The play itself no longer feels quite as urgent as it must have done when first performed at the height of the McCarthyite witch-hunts in 1953. But 'The Crucible' remains a powerful allegory about the temptations of groupthink and how little protection the law can provide." Full Review
"The cast almost trips over itself with talent. There’s Whishaw’s wonderful Proctor, vulnerable and willowy, a Snowden among the censors…Ronan possesses a remarkable power to convey so much in the flick of a glance, something that is utterly malevolent here…Van Hove pairs stars with starkness. A minimal, brightly lit set occasionally bows to blockbuster flourishes…This is a faithful and compelling piece of work, sinister, claustrophobic, and frighteningly real." Full Review
"Van Hove is the master of visually arresting moments: The alarming third-act opening will have audience members clinging to their seats...Unfortunately, the beats between these set pieces often seem neglected...This may be van Hove's way of dressing up Miller's overwrought dialogue and uneconomical plot development, which causes even the strongest mountings of this play to sag. This is the best production of 'The Crucible' I've ever seen. It is by no means a perfect drama." Full Review
"Gripping, emotional revival...If van Hove’s directorial choices generally support and enliven the text, and force us to see it fresh, it’s not because he has abandoned his avant-garde armamentarium...I think the mistake teachers often make about 'The Crucible' is that they read it like a novel, and sometimes it’s staged that way. Van Hove sweeps all that away, letting us feel more strongly the role the play’s overwhelming structural brilliance plays in locking us down." Full Review
"Staging the play in a modern dress production, van Hove has brought the contemporary relevance of this parable of the Salem Witch Trials to the forefront and many will be more impressed with this production than his groundbreaking ‘A View from the Bridge’. With a terrific ensemble cast, this production of 'The Crucible' will make you feel as if you have never seen it before even if you think you know it very well.” Full Review
"Van Hove’s electrifying and audacious staging achieves what more revivals should: It makes old work seem new, blows away the dust and exposes caulked cracks...The production avoids overt reference to contemporary headlines, but resonances with today's religious hypocrisy and xenophobia are hard to ignore...Miller’s masterpiece, still a model of post-Ibsenite drama, holds up...'The Crucible' has to be seen—even if not every flourish works...Still, the cast is ridiculously stuffed with talent." Full Review
"In van Hove’s new revival of 'The Crucible,' evil lurks in ways that it’s best for theatergoers to discover on their own and not in this review. What can be written is that van Hove knows how to put on a good old-fashioned fire-and-brimstone spectacle, and he makes us believe it...Over the years, van Hove’s challenging, insightful productions have given the city some of its most illuminating nights in the theater. With 'The Crucible,' he shows an even surer hand with his actors." Full Review
"Eye-popping and wholly unconventional...A more potent, angrier John (and a more complex Mary) would help this production by leaps and bounds, but it remains a fascinating piece of theater, one that adds layers of visual and sensual meaning to Miller's literate verbosity and thus freshens its point of view...This is a 'Crucible' that focuses on how really decent people can be destroyed by fear and hatemongering; were Miller alive today, he would have approved of its emphasis." Full Review
"Van Hove has taken a powerful script and infused it with visions of his own...His cast is powerful and commanding...It has power but I believe it would have more if it were less blunt. The final scene between John Proctor and his wife is touching and beautifully played, but it comes at the end of a very long evening, one that might be trimmed to suit the thought that sometimes less is more...'The Crucible' will provoke you, but if you’re prepared for that, there are rewards waiting for you." Full Review
"The focus is on the paranormal and the creep factor...Mr. van Hove’s touches may seem affected, but this remains a gripping, intense piece of theater...The 'mean girls' of Salem give some of the show’s best performances...However, there are inconsistencies in the casting of other roles...This revival won’t please Miller purists. It might outrage some. Regardless, the most telling aspect of 'The Crucible' is how much the message holds up today, even in a production as unconventional as this." Full Review
"This is a topical take on 'The Crucible'...The onetime doyen of the Off Broadway avant-garde seems intent on honouring the spirit of a playwright whose greatness can occasionally come at a ponderous price. There’s no hint of ponderousness here, though, where the air is charged with the chill winds of chaos...No amount of directorial tweaks or innovations would matter without a cast able to transform an often worthy play into one that is properly wounding." Full Review
"The performances are magnificent and give plenty of personality to the characters. The acclaimed Belgian director Ivo van Hove in this production illuminates the battle between good and evil, and the impact of gossip upon a community that believes that sickness and misfortune are the result of evil and witchcraft." Full Review
"You either appreciate van Hove's daring choices or find them a bit self-important. I confess I am somewhere in the middle...The director’s interpretation manages to make the experience simultaneously historic and resonant...What does work here are the performances...The direction seems aimless at times, particularly in the second act...This is not lively theatre for the restless attention span. But those who remain and commit can hear a pin drop for most of the two hours and 50 minutes." Full Review
"Without the Puritan costumes that further distance the modern audience from this play, the actors were liberated to perform with a gritty naturalism…Van Hove’s stylistic direction was specific and original in terms of choices, very clear in helping his vision but not clear in helping the story necessarily…Van Hove has succeeded for the second time at bringing raw, new life to Arthur Miller’s plays. This production had the essential materials to captivate the modern audience." Full Review
"Van Hove does not reinvent so much as he distills...The lead performers are most impressive...Ben Whishaw with Sophie Okonedo as John and Elizabeth Proctor share a raw intensity that burns through our collective consciousness long after the final curtain...Purists may balk at Van Hove's tinkering and some of the effects seemed unnecessary, but Miller's message, that society can be just as blind as justice, comes through clear and resonant as ever." Full Review
"Perhaps because 'Crucible' invokes the supernatural, the staging seems less mannered than van Hove's take on Miller's 'A View From the Bridge' last fall — but not much. Philip Glass's eerie score hums under the dialogue...But the excellent actors help ensure that Miller's dialogue is never overshadowed." Full Review
"His approach is alternately striking, lugubrious, and fruit loopy...Whether van Hove is succeeding in his stated goal of stripping away theatrical conventions and cutting to the heart of classic drama—or, in fact, is doing the opposite, and serving up a 'Crucible' that is affected and artificial—probably comes down to your personal taste...If all of the disparate pieces never quite fit together, you can do a lot worse than an audacious production of a built-to-last masterpiece." Full Review
See it if You like great acting and you want to see a classic play reimagined in a profoundly brilliant, unforgettable way.
Don't see it if You don't like great acting or fresh and brilliant takes on classic plays.
See it if you are an Arthur Miller fan and can appreciate the ongoing relevance of what it means to be caught up in unfounded mass hysteria. Amazing
Don't see it if you don't like intense dramas. Not for the faint of heart.
See it if you like classic stories given a contemporary setting - and you appreciate great theater
Don't see it if you're expecting a light-hearted take on the play; or if you mind sitting still for almost three hours
See it if you're craving a modern and electrifying version of The Crucible. Brilliantly directed by Ivo Van Hove.
Don't see it if you don't like modern interpretations of classic plays or don't enjoy being scared. This ain't you're Grandma's version of The Crucible.
See it if You are a fan of Miller, Ivo von Hove, or Ben Whishaw; you like compelling acting/directing; you like topical twists on familiar material.
Don't see it if You don't like drama, religious themes, unhappy endings, or man's search for meaning in a difficult world.
See it if you were a fan of Ivo von Hove's interpretation of A View From the Bridge. He is an amazing interpreter of Arthur Miller.
Don't see it if you are not a fan of more abstract interpretations of classic works or if you do not stay engaged in longer shows.
See it if You think highly of Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller or any of the brilliant actors involved - because they will all exceed your expectations.
Don't see it if You do not have a taste for epic, fierce theater.
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