Custom Made Theatre Co. presents
by Arthur Miller
directed by Stuart Bousel
Now extended through June 28th!
Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” is arguably The Great American Play, a classic story of individuals confronting the corruption within their society and standing up for their convictions under even the direst of circumstances.
An infamous allegory for the McCarthy witch-hunts of the 1950′s, the action remains in 17th century Salem and concerns the persecution and state-sponsored murder of twenty outsiders by their friends and neighbors for alleged affiliations with the supernatural world.
Ultimately, “The Crucible” is a study of how power is wielded- and opposed- in any community; this enduring show contains some of the most gripping scenes in modern theater and remains wildly popular wherever and whenever it is produced.
Custom Made is thrilled to bring back director Bousel, whose previous engagements, “M. Butterly” and “The Merchant of Venice”, have been audience and critical favorites. His Custom Made Theatre Co. production of “Prelude to a Kiss” was recently nominated for Best Overall Production by the Bay Area Critic’s Circle.
PRODUCTION PHOTOS: All photos by Jay Yamada. For high-resolution, downloadable photos, please visit our press page.
Tickets at: www.custommade.org/tickets
Previews May 16-17 8pm, 18 7pm
Opening May 20 8pm
Runs May 22- June 28
Getting to Gough Street Playhouse
Visit our directions page to plan a route via Google Maps. Save the planet, take public transportation!
Last minute parking on-the-street is not recommended, but is possible with some planning.
On weekday evenings a good approach is to park at 7:00pm between Bush and Pine on Franklin Street, just when it stops being a tow-away zone. At that time there are plenty of spaces, and plenty of restaurants to grab some dinner pre-show!
There are also plenty of parking lots between Geary/Van Ness and the Theatre.
Tickets at: www.custommade.org/tickets
The Crucible s runs 2hrs and 40 minutes, which includes a 15-minute intermission.
Arthur Miller looks back on The Crucible . The Guardian/The Observer, Saturday, June 17, 2000 (excerpt):
It would probably never have occurred to me to write a play about the Salem witch trials of 1692 had I not seen some astonishing correspondences with that calamity in the America of the late 40s and early 50s. My basic need was to respond to a phenomenon which, with only small exaggeration, one could say paralyzed a whole generation…
In 1956, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) subpoenaed me- I was cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to identify writers I had met at one of the two communist writers’ meetings I had attended many years before.
In today’s terms, the country had been delivered into the hands of the radical right, a ministry of free-floating apprehension toward anything that never happens in the middle of Missouri. It is always with us, this anxiety, sometimes directed towards foreigners, Jews, Catholics, fluoridated water, aliens in space, masturbation, homosexuality, or the Internal Revenue Department… And if this seems crazy now, it seemed just as crazy then, but openly doubting it could cost you.
Salem village, that pious, devout settlement at the edge of white civilization, had displayed … what can only be called a built-in pestilence in the human mind; a fatality forever awaiting the right conditions for its always unique, forever unprecedented outbreak of distrust, alarm, suspicion and murder… It is all very strange. But then, the Devil is known to lure people into forgetting what it is vital for them to remember – how else could his endless reappearances always come as such a marvelous surprise?
A Short Biography of Arthur Miller
In the period immediately following the end of World War II, American theater was transformed by the work of playwright Arthur Miller. Profoundly influenced by the Depression and the war that immediately followed it, Miller tapped into a sense of dissatisfaction and unrest within the greater American psyche. His probing dramas proved to be both the conscience and redemption of the times, allowing people an honest view of the direction the country had taken.
Arthur Miller was born in New York City and studied at the University of Michigan. His plays include The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944), All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge and A Memory of Two Mondays (1955), After the Fall (1964), Incident at Vichy (1964), The Price (1968), The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), The Archbishop’s Ceiling (1977), The American Clock (1980) and Playing for Time. Later plays include The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991), The Last Yankee (1993), Broken Glass (1994), Mr. Peters’ Connections (1998), Resurrection Blues (2002), and Finishing the Picture (2004). He received two Emmy awards and three Tony Awards for his plays, a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Pulitzer Prize among countless other achievements
Arthur Miller personified his times. He became a hero to the American left due to his unwavering refusal to cooperate with the Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, and endured a rocky, and public, marriage to troubled icon Marilyn Monroe. He died 2005 at the age of 89, just before he was to marry his fourth wife. .
Megan Briggs (Elizabeth Proctor) Megan is thrilled to once again be working with Custom Made Theatre Company after having appeared as Portia in The Merchant of Venice, and Paulinka in A Bright Room Called Day. A Shellie Award nominee for best actress, her most recent Bay Area theatre credits include portraying Anne in You’re Going to Bleed as part of the 2013 SF DIVAfest, and Pauline/Deva in Age of Beauty with No Nude Men. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of the Pacific and she has also studied with the world renowned Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, MA. She would like to send a big “thank you” to her friends, coworkers, and especially her parents for all their love and support. www.MeganBriggs.com
Kat Bushnell (Mercy/Sarah) is thrilled to make her CUstom Made debut in The Crucible! Since earning her Drama degree from SFSU in 2009, she has performed with SF TheaterPub (Jesus Christ Superstar/RENT/Devil of a Time), SFOlympians Festival (Hera/Hestia), Cutting Ball Theater (Epicoene), Wily West Productions (Hopes Last Chance/JunoEnVictoria), No Nude Men Productions (Giant Bones), Thunderbird Theater Co. (The Scotland Company) and SFSketchfest (EMO! The Musical). Thanks to the cast and production team for making this an unforgettable experience.
Melissa Clason (Mrs. Putnam/Susanna) Since returning home to California, Melissa has ecstatically collaborated with Performers Under Stress, San Francisco Olympians, San Francisco Theatre Pub, Bay One Acts, and now Custom Made Theatre Company! She extends her deepest gratitude to Stuart for the opportunity to delve into such a provocative piece of American History, the San Francisco Bay Area theatre community for its camaraderie, her friends for their constant encouragement, and her family for their eternal support. Melissa dedicates this production to the strength and courage of her ninth great-grandmother, Elizabeth Periment Clawson, who also in 1692 was accused, tortured, tried, & exonerated of witchcraft in Stamford, Connecticut.
Andrew Calabrese (Parris) Andrew is happy to be returning to stage in his Custom Made debut after a brief hiatus. Previously Andrew has appeared with several local companies including: Impact, Shotgun, Theatre Rhino, NCTC, Wiley West and Second Wind. He is a founding member of Precarious Theatre Ensemble and one-half of the comedy shenanigans called Shandyland.
Alisha Ehrlich (Mary Warren) is thrilled to be making her debut at Custom Made! Some of her recent roles include: Philotis in BTAB’s production of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Eurydice in Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice at DMT, Clara in Love in the Time of Zombies at SF Theater Pub, the Chorus in Weightless at the SF Fringe Festival, and understudying the role of Green Snake in The White Snake at Berkeley Rep. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Alisha earned her BA in Theater and Performance Studies in 2010. She thanks everyone for their support during these past months. She couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to kicking some ass.
Vince Faso (Putnam/Cheever) is an actor, writer, teacher, and director here in The Bay and this is his first production with Custom Made. He has worked with companies such as CalShakes, SF Theater Pub, Performers Under Stress, Diablo Actor’s Ensemble, The Cutting Ball Theater, and Actors Ensemble of Berkeley. A graduate of USF’s Performing Arts & Social Justice program, he is a lover of Shakespeare, physical comedy, and is a founding member of the SF-based comedy improv team, Chinese Ballroom. A drama teacher in Oakland for nearly a decade, his sense of humor and growth as a theatre artist have been profoundly influenced by his experiences with the most awkward, terrifying, and inspirational group of humans on the planet: middle schoolers. He is honored to join this stellar cast and crew on this adventure into hysteria.
Paul Jennings (Danforth) is delighted to be making his Custom Made Theatre debut, his first full production since his return from the 2013 International Actors Fellowship at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. He has has worked extensively in Northern California, appearing primarily in Shakespearean roles (45 productions of 26 of the plays), and has worked with Berkeley Rep, Cal Shakes, Pacific Rep,Theatre Pub, and many other companies. Recent roles include Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew for San Francisco Theatre Pub and stepping in for Sturgis Drang in Troublemaker at Berkeley Rep.
Charles Lewis (Marshal Herrick) is an actor, writer, and director in the San Francisco Bay Area theatre scene. He has written and directed for San Francisco TheaterPub, Wily West Productions, and the San Francisco Olympians Festival. The companies for which he’s acted include such renowned companies as ACT, No Nude Men Productions, PianoFight, Impact Theatre, Cutting Ball, New Conservatory, Atmos Theatre, and the San Francisco Opera. He frequently appears on-camera, most recently appearing in the film The Diary of a Teenage Girl with Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skaarsgard. You can find him on Twitter (@SimonPatt) and at TheThinkingMansIdiot.wordpress.com .”
Juliana Lustenader (Abigail) is a proud graduate of San Francisco State University’s Theatre Arts Department. Her most recent Bay Area shows include Evita (Ensemble), Chorus Line (Val), Red Virgin (Clemence), and Spring Awakening (Wendla). The Crucible is her first Custom Made production, but she has worked with many Bay Area companies, such as Broadway By The Bay, Shotgun Players, Foothill Musical Theatre, Central Works, Ragged Wing Ensemble, Do It Live! Productions and 99 Stock. She’s soon to appear in Yeast Nation this Fall with Ray of Light. In her free time she enjoys playwriting, writing music, and knitting.
Jeunée Simon (Tituba) is happy to return to the Custom Made stage after her exciting experience in Peter/Wendy earlier this year. She has recently been seen in Ragged Wing’s Fierce Play: Knife in the Socket, the SF Olympian’s Festival (The Trojan Women and Briseis/Chryseis) and Bigger Than a Breadbox Theatre’s Tis Pity She’s a Whore. It’s been a humbling experience to delve into Salem and the history behind the witch trials. It’s taken a village to bring this story to life.
Nick Trengove (Hale) – The Crucible marks Nick’s third show with Custom Made Theater, and he is as thrilled as ever to perform with this company again. His past credits include Achilles with Impact’s Troilus and Cressida, Peter in Custom Made’s Prelude to a Kiss, and various roles as part of SF’s 2013 Olympians Festival. Nick would like to thank his family and friends for their love and support, and particularly his mother, for taking him to Salem so long ago and instilling in him a respect and wonder at its strange and tragic history
Ron Talbot (Giles Corey) is delighted to be working with amazingly talented group of artists at Custom Made for the first time. Ron’s other favorite roles include: C.K. Dexter Haven in ‘The Philadelphia Story’ (Western Stage), Mr Kirby in ‘You Can’t Take it with You‘ (Palo Alto Players), Rochefort in ‘The Three Musketeers‘ and Socrates in ‘Lysistrata’ (City Lights), Sebastian in ‘Twelfth Night‘ (Marin Shakespeare), Douglas MacArthur in ‘Vera Cruz‘ (Pear Ave Theatre), Petruchio in ‘Taming of the Shrew’ (San Leandro Shakespeare Festival), Don Pedro in ‘Much Ado About Nothing‘ and Etienne in ‘Flea in her Ear’ (Pacific Repertory) and Friar Lawrence in ‘Romeo and Juliet‘ (Los Gatos Shakespeare).
Kitty Torres (Betty) is elated to be a part of this production of The Crucible. Having lived in the foggy city for 8 years now, she had taken a break from the wide world of Theatre to focus on work life. However, she has recently returned upon realizing that life is insanely sad without the smell of thick makeup, wearing crazy costumes and being a part of such rewarding experiences. Having had the fortune of performing in The Olympian Festival last winter, she was so excited to be apart of such an overwhelming classic as The Crucible. This experience has been such an incredible road to take and she has had the opportunity to look at this play as well as the historical events that procured such a story with far more resonance and appreciation. She would like to thank her ever-wonderful support system.
Carole Swann (Rebecca) Past roles include (Actor’s Theatre of SF): Mary Hatch, It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play; Bananas, The House of Blue Leaves; The Bogle, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol; Rita, The Water Engine; Babe, Crimes of the Heart; (Expression Productions): Mrs. Popov, The Brute; and Estelle, No Exit. In London, Carole scripted, directed and performed in The Splendor is Not One That Dazzles, a piece inspired by spiritual autobiography. This summer she will appear with Curtain Theatre as Antonio in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Many thanks to Stuart, cast and crew. “It takes a village!”
Peter Townley (Proctor) is happy to be working with Custom Made for the second time. He has most recently been seen as Hamlet in Shakespeare Bug at Killing My Lobster, as Cash in The Pain And The Itch at Custom Made and as Soranzo in ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore at Bigger Than A Breadbox.
Richard Wenzel (Francis Nurse/Judge Hathorne) co-starred here as Julius Becker in Prelude to A Kiss and also as “Love” in Spalding Gray’s Stories Left to Tell, and Satan in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Upcoming will be Jimmy Tomorrow in The Iceman Cometh at Tao House in Danville. He has also worked with Wily West, NCTC, Center Rep and 42nd St. Moon. Film roles include an FBI Agent in Strange Culture and can be heard singing on DVD as the Baker Bear in Bears at Work. He has trained vocally with Daniel Levenstein and acting with Katherine Keats of Mark Monroe Studios.
Stuart Bousel (Director) has previously directed Prelude To A Kiss, The Merchant of Venice, and M. Butterfly for Custom Made Theatre Co.; other Bay Area directing credits include Ruth and The Sea for Wily West Productions, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and The Frogs for Atmostheatre/Theater in the Woods, and Taming of the Shrew and Measure For Measure at SF Theater Pub, of which he is a founding artistic director. Also a playwright, his work has been performed around the world and locally his play Rat Girl, based on Kristin Hersh’s memoir, headlines this year’s DIVAfest while an original work, Everybody Here Says Hello! will debut this summer with Wily West. His acting credits include the title role in Macbeth and three separate productions of The Fantasticks. He was awarded “Best Ringmaster of The San Francisco Theatre Scene” by the SF Weekly last year and you can find out more about his work at www.horrorunspeakable.com, or follow along the blog he edits at www.sftheaterpub.com.
William Campbell (Lighting Design) is a graduate student currently finishing his M.F.A. in technical theater at SF State. He is excited to be working on his first show with The Custom Made Theatre Co. Some of his lighting design credits include Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, the Musical with Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Hitcher with 99 Stock Productions, and ‘Tis Pity she’s a Whore with Bigger than a Breadbox Theatre Co. Favorite designs at SF State have included References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, Othello, and Engaged.
Ariel Craft (Assistant Director / Properties Design) is a Bay Area-based freelance director, thrilled to be collaborating with CMTC for the first time. Recent credits include ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Robot Hand, Landscape of the Body, and How I Learned to Drive. Upcoming projects include Late: A Cowboy Song in January, 2015 at Custom Made and Blood Wedding at BTaB Theatre Co. in November, 2014. Ariel is the Executive Artistic Director of Bigger Than a Breadbox Theatre Co. and served as the American Conservatory Theater’s Artistic Fellow for the 2012/2013 season. She holds a BFA in Drama from New York University.
Brooke Jennings (Costume Designer) is ecstatic to make her Custom Made Theater debut, especially with this powerful production of “The Crucible.” She recently received her Theater Arts M.A. from University of California, Santa Cruz and currently works as a local costume designer and wardrobe supervisor in the bay area. She has designed most recently for Jewel Theater on Pump Boys and Dinettes, Arcadia, and Geography of Horse Dreamer; Virago Theater on Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Coma; City Lights Theater Company on Rocky Horror Show; Shakespeare Santa Cruz on Henry V, Henry IV Part 2, Twelfth Night, and Comedy of Errors; UCSC Theater Arts Department on I Dream of Chang and Eng, Thinning Veil, and Peer Gynt.
Stewart Lyle (Scenic Design and Construction) directed , designed, and built highly successful productions of RENT, The Fantasticks, Moonlight and Magnolias, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Man of La Mancha, and Art for Altarena Playhouse in Alameda along with Children of Eden at Contra Costa Civic Theatre in El Cerrito. As Resident Technical Director for Altarena, Technical Director for the Woodminster Summer Musicals in Oakland, and Build Manager for Contra Costa Civic Theatre, he’s designed and/or built sets for more than 30 shows the last three years alone. A member of Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional stage actors, he has performed in over 100 productions throughout California with companies that include TheatreWorks, San Jose Stage, Willows Theatre Company, Pacific Repertory Theatre, The Mountain Play, Cabrillo Stage, Foothill Musical Theatre, and Alameda Civic Light Opera. This March, he’ll be appearing at the Altarena in Almost Maine with his (love always) wife Donna.
Nicola McCarthy (Scenic Artist) is an Irish Artist who has made San Francisco her home away from home. Paint has always been her playground, creating fantastical scenes both large and small. Exhibiting regularly in galleries around the world she has always had a fascination for reinventing space and taking paint LARGE. Theater offers tremendous opportunity to really push the boundaries of what paint can do, working regularly with Custom Made on a number of shows now, Nicola Loves the thrill of creating backdrops that allow whole worlds of fantasy to collide.
Liz Ryder (Original Music/Sound Design) is an award winning composer/multi-instrumentalist/sound designer based in San Francisco. She holds a Master’s Degree in Composition and Creative Music Technology from Bangor University, Wales, UK, and is currently resident composer at Custom Made Theatre Co.. She recently won a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for sound design/music for Eurydice (2013); other CMTC music/sound design credits include Top Girls, The Pain and the Itch, Peter/Wendy, The Book of Liz, The Play about the Baby, The Devil and Billy Markham and Red Light Winter. For Marin Theatre Company: score for Rapunzel, and Around the World in 80 Days (2015); For the Masquers: Dead Man’s Cell Phone (May 2014). She has played main stages at folk festivals in the UK and California, and recorded four studio albums, and three EPs to date. lizrydermusic.com.
Brian Katz (Artistic Director/Production Management) is the co-founder of Custom Made Theatre. For Custom Made he has directed over 25 productions including the SF Bay Critic’s Circle Best Overall Play of 2012, Edward Albee’s The Play About the Baby, A Bright Room Called Day (nominee, Best Director, SFBATCC), Next to Normal (nominee, Best Overall Production), Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, The Devil and Billy Markham, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Red Light Winter among many others. Brian has a B.A. in theatre literature and criticism from Clark University and interned in dramaturgy at the Goodman Theatre. He will next will open Custom Made’s 16th season with Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five (or The Children’s Crusade).
Leah S. Abrams (Executive Director) is the co-founder of Custom Made, and is now based in Manhattan, where she oversees the company’s New York projects, and also works as a contract production manager. She has produced over forty plays for Custom Made. Most recently, Leah directed Mark Eisman’s (Studio CMTC 2012, Shove) Sightlines at the cell where, last year, she also directed readings of Gino DiIorio’s (Studio CMTC 2012) Sam and Dede, or My Dinner with Andre the Giant, Mark Eisman’s Death of Fine Dining and Tom Minter’s Groundwork. Custom Made SF directing credits include Sightlines for Studio 2012, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Odd Couple, Dodo for President, Two Rooms, and countless Beckett short
“A standout feature of this production is Bousel’s kaleidescopic staging. By moving through the early scenes at such high speed, he is able to shift the stage picture almost continuously, blurring the line between dramatic staging and dance. His placement of actors is as carefully composed as in a painting and carries a great deal of emotional weight. The capable cast includes many fine performances, with especially good work by Peter Townley as John Proctor and Juliana Lustenader as Abigail Williams…. Arthur Miller fans should be quite pleased.” Charles Kruger, TheatreStorm http://theatrestorm.com/2014/05/23/review-the-crucible-at-custommade-theatre-company/
“Tautly directed by Stuart Bousel, this production benefits from Custom Made’s tiny performance space, which only heightens the overall sense of paranoia, magnifies the delusional behavior, and exposes the instances of religious persecution…. This is a production of worthy of any serious theatregoer’s attention.” George Heymont, My Cultural Landscape http://myculturallandscape.blogspot.com/2014/05/coping-with-undesirables.html