Broken Glass (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Broken Glass
Arthur Miller's Broken Glass.jpg
Written by Arthur Miller
Date premiered 1994
Place premiered Booth Theatre
New York City
Original language English
Subject American Jewish assimilation, self-hatred and the European Nazi threat
Genre Historical drama
Setting Brooklyn, 1938

Broken Glass is a 1994 play by Arthur Miller, focusing on a couple in New York City in 1938, the same time of Kristallnacht, in Nazi Germany. The play's title is derived from Kristallnacht, which is also known as the Night of Broken Glass.


  • Sylvia Gellburg
  • Phillip Gellburg, Sylvia's Husband
  • Dr. Harry Hyman, Doctor of Sylvia Gellburg
  • Margaret Hyman, Wife of Dr. Hyman
  • Harriet, Sylvia's sister
  • Stanton Case, Phillip Gellburg's employer


Phillip and Sylvia Gellburg are a Jewish married couple living in Brooklyn, New York City, in the last days of November 1938. Phillip works on foreclosures, at a Brooklyn mortgage bank.

When Sylvia suddenly becomes partially paralyzed from the waist down, after reading about the events of Kristallnacht in the newspaper, Phillip contacts Dr. Harry Hyman. Dr. Hyman believes Sylvia's paralysis is psychosomatic, and though he is not a psychiatrist, he begins to treat her according to his diagnosis. Throughout the play, Dr. Hyman learns more about the problems Sylvia is having in her personal life, particularly in her marriage.

After an argument with his boss, Philip suffers a heart attack and begins dying at his home. He and Sylvia confront each other about their feelings. Before Phillip dies (although his death is never confirmed), his final words are "Sylvia, forgive me!". Upon his "death", Sylvia is cured of her paralysis.


Broken Glass was first staged and made its world premiere at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, before transferring to the Booth Theatre from April 24 to June 26, 1994, for a total of 73 performances. The original production was directed by John Tillinger, and produced by Robert Whitehead, Roger L. Stevens, Lars Schmidt, Spring Sirkin, Terri Childs, and Timothy Childs. It made its British premiere at the Royal National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre on August 4, 1994..[citation needed]

A revival of Broken Glass, starring Antony Sher, was staged at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, London in August/September 2011, before transferring to the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End..[citation needed]

An amateur production by the Middlesbrough Little Theatre Company was staged at Middlesbrough Theatre in Middlesbrough, England, in April 2015, directed by Bill Colombi with the following cast: Jim Woods as Phillip Gellburg, Yvonne Cotton as Sylvia Gellburg, Rob Clilverd as Dr Hyman, Maggie Jackson as Margaret Hyman, Carol Daly as Harriet and Peter Johnson as Stanton Case. The cello interludes were played by professional cellist Alexander Warham.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 1994 Tony nomination for Best Play



  • Miller, Arthur (1994). Broken Glass: A Play (First ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-048095-1. 

External links[edit]