The Ride Down Mt. Morgan

The Ride Down Mt. Morgan


The play's central character is Lyman Felt, an insurance agent and bigamist who maintains families in New York City and Elmira in upstate New York. Lost in narcissistic self-absorption, Felt is wealthy, greedy, and selfish, and so afraid of his own death he is insensitive to the repercussions of his actions on the emotions of those he claims to love. His worst fear is realized when he is hospitalized following a nearly fatal car crash on an icy mountain road and both wives - a prim and proper Presbyterian to whom he's been wed for more than thirty years and the younger, freewheeling woman, Jewish like himself, who he married nine years earlier - show up at his bedside. Unrepentant, he refuses to accept responsibility for his actions because, as he continually explains, each of them has had a better life with him than they would have had without him. Now aware of his duplicity, the women are forced to reappraise their relationship with him and decide if they want to continue living in a marriage built on lies. Through Felt, Miller presents the supposition that monogamy is an unnatural and unattainable state imposed on men by rigid but unnecessary social convention.

The play, directed by Michael Blakemore and starring Tom Conti, had its world premiere at London's Wyndham's Theatre, opening on October 23, 1991.

Seven years later, it received its first New York City staging in a production directed by David Esbjornson, which opened on October 27, 1998 at the Public Theater, where it ran for 40 performances. The cast included Patrick Stewart, Katy Selverstone, and Frances Conroy, who won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance.

After 23 previews, the Public production opened on April 9, 2000 at Broadway's Ambassador Theatre, where it ran for 121 performances. Lukewarm reviews and poor box office convinced the producers (including the Shubert Organization) to post a closing notice and, in memorably impassioned Saturday matinee and evening curtain speeches, Stewart accused them of not being supportive, stating "Arthur Miller and I no longer have confidence in our producers' commitment to promote and publicize this extraordinarily provocative and vastly entertaining play." [] They subsequently took the matter to Actors Equity, which ruled that Stewart had to apologize publicly for his outburst. The incident no doubt affected the actor's chances at a Tony Award nomination since, despite critical praise for his performance, he failed to garner one.

As of late 2006, a film version directed by Nicole Kassell and produced by and starring Michael Douglas is in development.


*Tony Award for Best Play
*Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Conroy)
*Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play
*Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play (Stewart)

External links

* [ 1998 off-Broadway production]

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