Dramaworks' All My Sons is Triumphant Bow for New Space

Review

Dramaworks' All My Sons is Triumphant Bow for New Space

Nov 14 2011
Mary Damiano | Florida Theater On Stage

Palm Beach Dramaworks sure knows how to open a theater. The company, formerly located in a tiny space on Banyan Street in downtown West Palm Beach, has moved to new digs around the corner at the edge of the waterfront on Clematis Street, downtown's main drag. The old Cuillo Theatre has been renamed the Don & Ann Brown Theatre, after donors who believed so much in the theater company's quality that they invested millions in their future... ...Such a theatre deserves a production with the scope and magnitude of All My Sons, Arthur Miller's first Broadway hit. Directed here by J. Barry Lewis, All My Sons is a family drama of epic proportions, dealing with the responsibility, honor and the ultimate cost of buying into the American Dream. ... All My Sons is a play that would have been impossible to produce in the old Palm Beach Dramaworks space. Not only is the cast of ten and the set requirements more that the old space could handle, the story, emotions and impact of the play are too big for the company's former tiny venue. Here in the new Don & Ann Brown Theatre, All My Sons has room to breathe, yet the emotional impact resonates even when watching the drama unfold from the last row. ...The entire cast is marvelous, and without a single misstep. There's an abundance in All My Sons that was characteristic in the heyday of theatre but is rarely seen today... Michael Amico's set thoroughly captures the mood and nostalgia of mid-century small-town America. Amico was a master at creating awe-inducing sets in the old space, and he has outdone himself with the All My Sons set. Amico now has expanse and depth to work with and his design — a two story house with a back porch, garage, and backyard — is breathtaking. The set is enhanced by John D. Hall's evocative lighting design, taking the Keller home from sunny morning to late at night while never forgetting the darkness that hangs over the family. The sound, by Rich Szczublewski, is clear and rich, and sounds natural, not overly amplified. ...In the Banyan Street space, Palm Beach Dramaworks had only 84 seats to offer and often had to turn people away. Now, although they have 218 seats available, fitting in everyone who wants to buy a ticket might still be a problem. Because judging by this production of All My Sons, the new space has allowed Palm Beach Dramaworks to amp up the quality work they've always done, resulting in a production that should keep the house full every performance, and still leave some theatergoers wishing they had bought tickets earlier.