The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Audio Version)

Richard Dreyfuss and Stacy Keach star in this full-cast performance of Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible, a central work in the canon of American drama. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, Massachusetts, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town. In a searing portrait of a community engulfed by panic – with ruthless prosecutors, and neighbors eager to testify against neighbor – The Crucible famously mirrors the anti-Communist hysteria that held the United States in its grip in the 1950’s. A Tony Award Winner for Best Play.

An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring:

Richard Dreyfuss as Reverend John Hale, Stacy Keach as John Proctor, Ed Begley Jr. as Thomas Putnam, Michael York as Reverend Parris, Hector Elizondo as Giles Corey, Irene Aranga as Mercy Lewis, Rene Auberjonois as Deputy Governor Danforth, Georgia Brown as Rebecca Nurse, Jack Coleman as Marshal Herrick, Bud Cort as Ezekiel Cheever, Judyann Elder as Tituba, Fionnula Flanagan as Elizabeth Proctor, Carol Kane

I distinctly remember reading The Crucible in October of sixth grade while we were discussing the Salem Witch Trials in school. Later, as a teenager, I found out why it was written. It was during the Communist witch hunt by Wisconsin’s own senator Joe McCarthy in the early 1950’s, against anyone who didn’t agree with him, it seems. Members of Hollywood, members of the state department, he accused so many people of being Communists and infiltrating many industries in an effort to turn the whole country communist like the Soviet Union. Arthur Miller thought the Salem Witch Trials was the perfect comparison to a country gone mad with Communist-hunting and wrote the play.

I thought the performance was excellent. The actors have such distinct voices that it wasn’t hard to follow the story at all. They do Arthur Miller’s work justice.

I also think that listening to The Crucible in this day and age still resonates with what’s going on in our country right now. So often people are quick to accuse, with no proof, and the angry mobs circle round the “offender.” And I know for a fact that there are still plenty of people across the country, including right here in Wisconsin where Joe McCarthy was from, who believe what he did was right. Even though of all the people he brought before his committee, he couldn’t find a single Communist sympathizer.

If you’d rather watch than listen, there’s always the Winona Ryder/Daniel Day-Lewis version of The Crucible, and right now Amazon has athe 1953 version on Prime Video for free that I have yet to see but is on my to-watch list.

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