The American Clock

Play by Arthur Miller. The American Clock turns, fortunes are made and lives are broken. In New York City in 1929, the stock market crashed and everything changed.

In an American society governed by race and class, we meet the Baum family as they navigate the aftermath of an unprecedented financial crisis. The world pulses with a soundtrack fusing 1920s swing and jazz with a fiercely contemporary sound, creating a backdrop that spans a vast horizon from choking high rises to rural heartlands. A play about hope, idealism and a nationís unwavering faith in capitalism.

Original London Production 1986 at the National Theatre

London Revival 2012 at the Finborough Theatre

Original West End London Production 2019 at the Old Vic Theatre

Arthur Miller's other plays recently seen in London's West End include All My Sons, Broken Glass, The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, The Last Yankee, The Price, Resurrection Blues and A View From The Bridge.

Original London Production 1986 at the National Theatre's Cottesloe and Olivier Theatres

Previewed 31 July 1986, Opened 6 August 1986, Closed 27 November 1986 at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre (now Dorfman Theatre)
Previewed 17 December 1986, Opened 18 December 1986, Closed 18 February 1987 at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre

The cast at the Cottesloe Theatre featured Michael Bryant as 'Moe Baum', Sara Kestelman as 'Rose Baum', Neil Daglish as 'Lee Baum', with Peter Gordon as 'Grandpa', Barrie Ingham as 'Arthur Robertson', Eve Adam, Roz Clifton, Judith Coke, Paul Curran, Sally Dexter, Edna Dore, Tommy Eytle, Alan Haywood, Marsha Hunt, Barry James, Okon Jones, Steven Law, Adam Norton, and David Schofield.

The cast at the Olivier Theatre featured Michael Bryant as 'Moe Baum', Sara Kestelman as 'Rose Baum', Neil Daglish as 'Lee Baum', with Peter Gordon as 'Grandpa', Barrie Ingham as 'Arthur Robertson', Eve Adam, Roz Clifton, Judith Coke, Sally Dexter, Tommy Eytle, Nicolas Donovon, Edna Dore, Alan Haywood, Marsha Hunt, Barry James, Okon Jones, Steven Law, Annabel Mednick, Valerie Minifie, John Normington, Adam Norton, David Schofield, Ellen Thomas, and Major Wiley.

Directed by Peter Wood with sets by Timothy O'Brien, costumes by Stephen Brimson Lewis, lighting by Robert Bryan, music by Robert Lockhart, and sound by Paul Groothuis.

London Revival 2012 at the Finborough Theatre

Previewed 27 March 2012, Opened 29 March 2012, Closed 21 April 2012 at the Finborough Theatre in West London

The cast featured Michael J Hayes as 'Moe Baum', Issy Van Randwyck as 'Rose Baum', Michael Benz as 'Lee Baum', with James Horne as 'Grandpa', Patrick Poletti as 'Arthur Robertson', David Ellis, Eva Fontaine, Christopher Heyward, Natalie Kent, Richard Morse, Daniel Norford, and Megan Elizabeth Pitt.

Directed by Phil Willmott with sets by Philip Lindley, costumes by Gregor Donnelly, lighting by Jason Meininger, and sound by Edward Lewis.

The Finborough Theatre is a fringe venue based in West London.

Original West End London Production 2019 at the Old Vic Theatre

Previewed 4 February 2019, Opened: 13 February 2019, Closed 30 March 2019 at the Old Vic Theatre

A major revival of Arthur Miller's 1980 play The American Clock in London for a strictly limited season

The cast features James Garnon as 'Moe 1', Abhin Galeya as 'Moe 2', Clarke Peters as 'Moe 3' / 'Arthur Robertson' (up to 2 March 2018), Sule Rimi as 'Moe 3' / 'Arthur Robertson' (from 4 March 2018), Clare Burt as 'Rose 1', Amber Aga as 'Rose 2', Golda Rosheuvel as 'Rose 3', Fred Haig as 'Lee 1', Taheen Modak as 'Lee 2', and Jyuddah Jaymes as 'Lee 3', with Paul Bentall as 'Grandpa', Greg Bernstein, Flora Dawson, Julie Jupp, Francesca Mills, Christian Patterson, Abdul Salis, and Ewan Wardrop.

Directed by Rachel Chavkin with choreography by Ann Yee, sets by Chloe Lamford, costumes by Rosie Elnile, lighting by Natasha Chivers, music by Justin Ellington, and sound by Darron L West.

When this production opened here at the Old Vic Theatre in February 2019, Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph thought this was "a welcome rediscovery, eerily up to-the-moment and serving as an invaluable reminder of how an economic shock can change a country forever." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times said it was a "impressive West End presentation of Arthur Millerís less seminal work." Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted that "the real strength of the production lies in individual scenes that give vivid snapshots of 1930s America... The play is as broad as it's long - which is a good three hours - but, while it's not one of Miller's greatest, it shows his enduring capacity to capture the state of a troubled nation." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard explained how "in director Rachel Chavkin's interpretation, each of the Baums is played by three actors. The idea is to suggest the challenges faced by successive waves of immigrants... but it's an innovation that can prove confusing, and at times the revolving stage feels cluttered." Dominic Maxwell in the Times described how "the cast of 17 sings and dances with beguiling skill around the revolving stage of Chloe Lamford's set but the scenes leave little to the imagination... Rachel Chavkin's production feels like spoon-fed history." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail commented that "Rachel Chavkin's over-busy, clunkingly right-on production lasts three preachy hours... Throw in a tap-dancing industrialist, dream sequences from a waltz marathon and it all becomes a bit mad, not least because three sets of actors are used to play the Baums... Whizzzz goes the revolve. Yawn goes the audience."

Clare Burt's West End theatre credits include the roles of 'Hork' in Annabel Bolton's production of Alan Ayckbourn's play The Divide at the Old Vic Theatre in 2018; 'Fosca' in Carol Metcalfe's revival of Stephen Sondheim's Passion at the Bridewell Theatre in 2004; and 'Susan' in Sam Mendes' revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical Company at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre) in 1996.

Clarke Peters' London theatre credits include the roles of 'Porgy' in Trevor Nunn's revival of the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at the Savoy Theatre in 2006; 'Sam Beckwith' in Howard Davies's revival of Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 2003; 'Darryl van Horne' in Eric Schaeffer's production of the John Dempsey and Dana Rowe musical The Witches of Eastwick at the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2001; 'Warden' in Harold Prince's production of the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical Kiss Of The Spider Woman at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1993; 'Four-Eyed Moe' in his own production of the Louis Jordan musical Five Guys Named Moe at the Lyric Theatre in 1990; 'Joe Mott' in Howard Davies' revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh at the Almeida Theatre in 1998; 'Hoke Coleburn' in Ron Lagomarisino's production of Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy at the Apollo Theatre in 1988; 'Man in the Saloon' in Steve Whately's production of Sheldon Epps' musical Blues In The Night at the Donmar Warehouse in 1987; and 'Sky Masterson' in Richard Eyre's revival of Frank Loesser's musical Guys and Dolls at the Prince of Wales in 1985.

Golda Rosheuvel London stage credits include the roles of 'Serena' in Timothy Sheader's revival of the Gershwin's musical Porgy and Bess at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 2014; Ian Rickson's revival of Sophocles' Electra at the Old Vic Theatre in 2014; and Rupert Goold's revival of Shakespeare's The Tempest at the Novello Theatre in 2007.

"Based on Arthur Miller's family experience and the testimony of those who lived through the Depression, this is one of the great dramatist's latest, though least coherent works. Scenes vault randomly from penniless people of New York to desperate farmers in Iowa. So American director Rachel Chavkin energises it all with a swirling, whirling production performed on a revolving stage and set to a jazzy score. Her big idea is to multiply by three the cast who play the Baums so the race of the play's family is no longer only Jewish but African-American and South Asian. Even armed with this knowledge, it can be hard to keep track of who is playing who. Still, Miller's ability to speak about the world beyond the period and place of his plays is undiminished." The London Metro

"Time dawdles in Arthur Miller's 'vaudeville'. In 1980, the playwright looked back and wrote a kaleidoscopic play about the Great Depression, when America ground to a halt. It had a profound effect on his own family, represented by the Baums on stage. For them, it is a question of moving to Brooklyn, pawning the diamonds and hiding from the mortgage broker. For others it means starvation. In 1933, unemployment reached 25%, far worse than our own recent crash... A talented cast portray a host of characters, from a tap-dancing executive to an angry communist. Set in the round, on a revolving stage, Rachel Chavkin's frenetic production keeps spinning. It is not her fault that the material is often very familiar, but she stretches it out with unnecessary cast changes and too much bittersweet music. Miller's play may be timely, but it's also a slog." The Sunday Times

"The American Clock is Arthur Miller's attempt to chart the death of the old America and the traumatic birth of the new in the years following the Great Depression. It has a loose, fidgety structure - it's a series of vignettes, really - but the central dramatic arc follows the Baums, a well-to-do family who, like virtually everyone in the country, were wiped out by the crash of 1929... But this is not one of Miller's better plays, and this production does a splendid job of triple-underlining why, as well as tossing in a bunch of flaws of its own. It leans heavily into vaudeville, with extravagant song and dance numbers, musical interludes, and surreal skits all intertwining to create a frankly bewildering tapestry. It's rare to find a production of this size, at a theatre of this esteem, that feels so disjointed, so much like a work in progress, so fundamentally broken... Working out who's who is virtually impossible, with the action jumping from time to time and place to place, and multiple characters dressed in identical uniforms... An extra bank of seats rises from the back of the stage, making for a bumper audience, and by the end of the three hours there were an awful lot of wriggling bottoms and people surreptitiously checking their watches." London City A.M.

The American Clock in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 4 February 2019, opened on 13 February 2019, and closed on 30 March 2019