Death of a Salesman

Any American actor worth his dramatic salt wants to play Willy Loman at some point in his career. Was it prescient of Philip Seymour Hoffman to play him at such an early age -- 44 - in 2012?

The brilliance of Arthur Miller's 1949 Pulitzer- and Tony-winning "Death of a Salesman" is that Willy Loman is someone we know, whether we've ever known a traveling salesman, much less had one for a father or husband. Anyone who saw Hoffman in almost any role felt as if we knew that guy.

At BroadHollow's Studio Theatre, Scott Hofer, known recently for roles in cross-dressing farces, embodies a more age-appropriate Willy, washed up at age 62. As directed by Marian Waller, Hofer's Willy is as palpable and knowable as any I've encountered.

That includes Long Islander Brian Dennehy's fiercely angry Willy and Dustin Hoffman's defeated characterization, both on Broadway, and that of Jack Howell, a former salesman, at BroadHollow. At Studio, Howell plays Willy's neighbor and friend, Charley, with a cynical yet sympathetic tone. He gets Willy, like no one in his family -- not even his wife, Linda, and especially not his sons.

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