Summing up the New York opening of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" in 1947, fellow playwright Arthur Miller wrote:
"What [that Broadway production] did was to plant the flag of beauty on the shores of commercial theater … The play cannot be disparaged."
Miller, who, like Williams, was a rapidly emerging American writer in his 30s, planted another flag in the same cause when "Death of a Salesman" opened on Broadway two years later. That play cannot be disparaged, either.
These searing, soaring classics of American drama are not approached lightly by theater companies. Staging one of them in a season would be considered...