First produced in 1955 as a one-act verse drama, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE was subsequently revised by playwright Arthur Miller into a two act play which premiered in 1956 in London and later on Broadway, where it won a Theatre World Award. Award-winning revivals followed in 1983, 1998, 2010, and 2015 – with cast members over the years earning prestigious awards – including Anthony LaPaglia, Scarlett Johansson, and Live Schreiber. With plays like “All my Sons,” “Death of a Salesman,” and A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, Arthur Miller cemented his reputation as one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century. Now the Ruskin Group Theatre proudly presents this timeless classic to modern audiences.
Jesse Janzen, Kim Chase, and Brandon Lill – Photo by Alex Neher
The time is the 1950s and the place is an Italian-American neighborhood near New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. The tragic tale is introduced by Attorney Alfieri (Sal Viscuso), a man raised in Italy who now lives in New York and works as an American lawyer. Italian immigrant Eddie Carbone (Ray Abruzzo) is a hard-working longshoreman who lives with his wife Beatrice (Kim Chase) and her 17-year-old orphaned niece Catherine (Aurora Leonard). But there are problems emerging in the household. While ostensibly protective and fatherly towards Catherine, Eddie harbors a growing passion for her and has not had sex with his wife for three months. To add fuel to the family’s unspoken secrets, Beatrice’s two cousins, Marco (Jesse Janzen) and Rodolpho (Brandon Lill), illegally come to the U.S. and move into the Carbone home. When the sheltered Catherine begins dating Rodolpho, tensions escalate – and disaster will surely follow.
Ray Abruzzo, Brandon Lill, Aurora Leonard, and Jesse Janzen – Photo by Alex Neher
Director Mike Reilly does an excellent job of digging into the personalities on display and the profound truths which they represent. He is ably assisted by a talented cast headed by Abruzzo and Chase, both of whom have a strong handle on the roles they play and reach into the heart and soul of each. This is a gripping study of relationship complexities, an exploration of conflicted individuals trying their best to survive in a very tough and often unforgiving world. Kudos are also in order for the production team, including Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s dilapidated but cozy scenic design, Michael Mullen’s 1950s costumes, and Edward Salas’ lighting and sound. They bring 1950s New York to life.
Jesse Janzen and Ray Abruzzo – Photo by Alex Neher
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is a must-see production for Arthur Miller fans – but it is more than that. It is a powerful and moving story about complicated people in a complex world. This is a tale of human nature facing impossible choices, but it is also about families and love (filial and carnal) and people trying to build a better life in a new world. Over the past 70 years, A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE has received multiple accolades, including Tony Awards, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle, and Olivier Award – but its primary award may be Miller’s ability to touch the hearts of audiences. It helps that this is also a five star production which shouldn’t be missed.
Jamie Daniels, Ray Abruzzo, and Kevin Alain – Photo by Alex Neher
A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE runs through October 8, 2023, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Ruskin Group Theatre is located at 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Tickets ranged from $25 to $35 (seniors/students/ Guild $5 off ticket price; groups of 8 or more discounted $28). For information and reservations, call 310-397-3244 or go online.