Skip To Content

I have a strong suspicion that the most important piece of theater this year was one I missed: Richard Nelson’s three-part “The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family,” at the Public Theater. His previous masterpiece, the “Apple Family Plays,” written in near real-time, was a richly novelistic examination of a liberal family in Rhinebeck, New York, on four signal dates of the Obama years. The new series focused on a nearby family that felt inexorably downwardly mobile, like the country wasn’t working for them anymore, and that’s the reality that drove a not-quite-majority of the country to take a flier on Donald Trump. I would have liked to see Nelson’s humane, sympathetic insights. Instead, I’m left with the thing I did see that most affected me: Ivo van Hove’s especially bleak revival of “The Crucible.” If I’d like Nelson to help me understand how we got to where we are, Arthur Miller’s classic reminds us of what can happen when righteously vindictive people take hold of the machinery of government. It was chilling in the spring; recalling it now is even scarier.

Jesse Oxfeld has written about theater for New York Magazine and Entertainment Weekly.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.