Playwright Arthur Miller probably never envisioned a sports version of his great play Death of a Salesman, but the Boston Red Sox are putting it on for limited performances in 2012 at Broadway on Fenway.
The road show is even more tragic than the home show.
Bobby Valentine, 62, is playing the 62-year old Willy Loman whose life has centered on his favorite sport, baseball. He is known as a drummer, someone who has traveled all the baseball byways for years and years, playing and managing on many levels. He has even been in the media as a shill.
Now as he approaches retirement age, he faces his two big prospects: Biff and Happy, who are not exactly living up to their promise and potential-and Valentine is at a loss, nearly every game.
Josh Beckett plays elder son Biff. A one-time big-time prospect, he has sunk into someone (as he enters his 30s) who spends every game in the clubhouse playing cards and eating fried chicken wings-much to the chagrin of the manager.
His other son named Happy, a ne'er-do-well, played by Carl Crawford, was thought to have more potential than Beckett, but now sloughs through game after game, reminiscing about past stolen bases and gold gloves.
Larry Lucchino plays long suffering Linda Loman. Always sitting on the sidelines, Larry watches helplessly as the man he hired finds it harder and harder to deliver the monthly mortgage payments on Fenway Park. He is now in danger of losing his sell-out streak.
Worse yet, smarmy Bernard (played by Ben Cherington) never could play baseball, but he has grown into a GM and a success that Biff and Happy cannot come close to matching.
The highlight of the play will feature Lucchino giving a speech about how attention must be paid to a team that represents the American Dream crashing down into a heap.
In order to keep the sell-out streak at Fenway, everyone who comes late to the game will be seated.