January 22, 1953

The Crucible Opens on Broadway


On this day in 1953, Arthur Miller's play The Crucible opened on Broadway. Four years after winning the Pulitzer Prize for Death of a Salesman, Miller had written a far more controversial play. Set in Salem during the witchcraft trials of 1692, The Crucible is a masterful melding of fact and fiction. The play drew disturbing parallels between the events that ended with the hanging of 19 innocent men and women and the "witch hunt" being conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities. While critics recognized Miller's courage in tackling such a provocative subject, they gave the play mixed reviews. Over time, it has become one of the classics of the American theatre.

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