This ‘Salesman’ is Jewish version 

Willy Loman first began his sales pitch to American audiences in 1949 when playwright Arthur Miller introduced his tragic drama "Death of a Salesman."

With its merciless yet brilliant skewering of the farcical American dream, the production won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, and Tony and Drama Critics’ Circle awards for Best Play.

The play has seen countless productions, film and television versions and numerous reinterpretations, making it a difficult task for the next theater company to leave its own imprint. Traveling Jewish Theatre succeeds in this feat, delivering a well-acted, powerful show that takes the audience through an intense and complicated emotional landscape.

Seen through the lens of the Jewish experience, the TJT production seeks to parallel Willy’s struggles to assimilate into foreign surroundings associated with a salesman’s life on the road, and free his family from poverty, with that of Jewish immigration. Without changes to the script, director Aaron Davidman relies on cadences and syntax to convey those similarities, on somewhat of a theoretical plane, in the production.

TJT co-founder and associate artistic director Corey Fischer plays Willy, a traveling salesman in his 60s who has begun to lose his grip on reality. Without ever making enough to pay his monthly bills, he begrudgingly relies on the good will of his neighbor, Charley (Louis Parnell), to get by.

Jeri Lynn Cohen is outstanding as Willy’s dutiful, doting wife, Linda, commanding the stage and reminding the audience that there always are multiple sides to a story. Scenes between her and her sons Biff (Michael Navarra), the failed prodigal son, and Happy (John Sousa), the philandering son, pack the most punch.

When Biff and Happy leave Willy in a restaurant restroom (at a dinner meant for him), preferring to hit the town with two women they’ve just met, Linda’s confrontation with the boys is searing.

Regardless, this "Death of a Salesman" honors the masterpiece’s relevance, with a cast up that’s up to the task.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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