Review: All My Sons (Court Theatre)

| January 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

John Judd, Timothy Edward Kane and Heidi Kettenring star in All My Sons, Court Theatre            


All My Sons

Written by Arthur Miller 
Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru Feb 18  |  tix: $44-$74  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

 Now extended thru February 18th


Exploring the aftereffects of war at the familial level


John Judd, Timothy Edward Kane, Heidi Kettenring and Kate Collins star in All My Sons

Court Theatre presents
All My Sons

Review by Lauren Whalen

All My Sons has all the ingredients of classic Arthur Miller: familial discord, the aftermath of a significant historical event, and a plethora of inner conflict. As my plus-one and I sat down, we confessed we’d never seen a full-length production of All My Sons, only snippets. As we watched the play, we began to understand why. While some aspects of Miller’s play have aged quite well, others have not. And while Charles Newell’s signature directing style doesn’t shy away from conflict, he makes odd choices that hamper the play even further. While beautifully done by Court Theatre, All My Sons is far from a perfect production and is, in many ways, a bit of a relic.

Heidi Kettenring and Dan Waller star in All My Sons, Court TheatreAll My Sons follows the Keller family, living comfortably in their Ohio neighborhood in the years after World War II. Patriarch Joe (John Judd) happily chats with his neighbors and banters with local boy Bert (Charlie Herman and Gabe Korzatkowski, alternating), but there’s a dark undercurrent to these simple joys. Joe’s oldest son Larry went missing at the end of the war, and Joe’s wife Kate (Kate Collins) clings to the ever-diminishing odds of his return. Joe himself served prison time with his business partner after manufacturing defective airplane parts that killed 20 soldiers during the war. And Joe’s son Chris (Timothy Edward Kane), who stands to inherit his father’s business, has fallen in love with Ann (Heidi Kettenring) – his brother Larry’s girlfriend at the time of his disappearance, and the daughter of Joe’s former business partner, who is still in prison. One day in the life of the Kellers results in secrets revealed, feelings confessed, and Joe’s final reckoning.

Unfortunately, we still live in a culture of war, with people serving overseas who may never come back home. Donald Trump’s unpredictable and careless tweets have instilled a fear of nuclear war in many. In this respect, All My Sons has aged very well: how many have in fact committed war crimes over the years? Does it make sense to try and imprison them all, when in fact this will never bring dead soldiers back to life? And how does the ensuing guilt affect family members, friends, lovers? The subplot of Chris and Ann’s romance is not nearly as interesting by modern standards, though both Kane and Kettenring do an admirable job and display palpable chemistry. To add insult to injury, however, Newell makes many odd directing choices in this production, including intimacy and combat moments that seem unsafe for the actors; blocking that looks unnatural; and strange vocal tics to convey Kate’s many emotions. All of these succeed in taking audience members out of potentially powerful onstage moments.

John Judd, Gabe Korzatkowski and Timothy Edward Kane star in All My Sons, Court TheatreJohn Judd, Timothy Edward Kane and Heidi Kettenring star in All My Sons, Court Theatre John Judd and Timothy Edward Kane star in All My Sons, Court TheatreJohn Judd, Heidi Kettenring, Kate Collins and Timothy Edward Kane star in All My Sons

Still, there’s a lot to like about Court’s productions of All My Sons. John Culbert’s scenic design is gorgeous, with realistic-looking housefronts that add to the play’s epic feel, and are complemented perfectly by Keith Parham’s dappled lighting. Jacqueline Firkins’ costumes are vivid and detailed, and Andre Pluess’ sound design has the increasingly creepy aura of a domestic horror film. Both Johanna McKenzie Miller and Abby Pierce give nuanced performances as neighborhood women, and Judd guides us through Joe’s emotional journey with careful expertise. Though not for everybody, Miller’s exploration of the aftereffects of war on a typical American family is worth the trip to Hyde Park.

Rating: ★★★

All My Sons continues through February 11th February 18th at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map), with performances Wednesday and Thursdays 7:30pm, Fridays 8pm, Saturdays 3pm & 8pm, Sundays 2:30pm & 7:30pm.  Tickets are $44-$74, and are available by phone (773-753-4472) or online through their website (check for availability of half-price tickets). More information at time: 2 hours 15 minutes, includes an intermission)

Kate Collins and John Judd star in All My Sons, Court Theatre

Photos by Michael Brosilow 




Kate Collins (Kate Keller), Karl Hamilton (Dr. Jim Bayliss), John Judd (Joe Keller), Timothy Edward Kane (Chris Keller), Heidi Kettenring (Ann Deever), Bradford Ryan Lund (Frank Lubey), Johanna McKenzie Miller (Sue Bayliss), Abby Pierce (Lydia Lubey), Dan Waller (George Deever), Charlie Herman (Bert, alternating), Gabe Korzatkowski (Bert, alternating), Abigail Boucher, Kate Cornelius, Jason Goff, Tim Martin, H.B. Ward (understudies)

behind the scenes

Charles Newell (director), John Culbert (scenic design), Jacqueline Firkins (costume design), Keith Parham (lighting design), Andre Pluess (sound design), Amanda Weener-Frederick (production stage manager), Cree Rankin (casting), Nora Titone (dramaturg), Erin Albrecht (stage manager), Kelly Montgomery (asst. stage manager), Jason Goff (fight choreography), Eva Breneman (dialect consultant), Gwendolyn Wiegold (asst. director), Noelle Thomas (asst. scenic design), Scott Gerwitz, Julie Ruscitti (scenic artists), Tony Cooper, Dean Gnadinger, Mari Noga, Theron Seckington (carpenters), Jerica Hucke (costume shop assistant), Christina Carlson (wig design), Alex Rutherford (stitcher, wardrobe crew), Shelbi Arndt, Billy Borst, Danielle Davis, Victoria Fox, Andy Kauff, Jason Lynch, Billy Murphy, John Sanchez, Jonah White (electricians), Raphael Grimes (asst. master electrician), Jaclynn Joslin (floor manager), Caroline Brown (young performer supervisor), Michael Brosilow (photos)

Kate Collins, John Judd and Timothy Edward Kane star in All My Sons, Court Theatre


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Category: 2018 Reviews, Arthur Miller, Court Theatre, Drama, Lauren Whalen, Video, YouTube

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