Finishing the Picture

Finishing the Picture is Arthur Miller's final play. It was produced at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago, Illinois in October 2004,[1] just months before Miller's death on February 10, 2005.


The Goodman Theatre production was directed by Robert Falls, and starred Matthew Modine, Harris Yulin, Frances Fisher, Stacy Keach, Stephen Lang, Linda Lavin, Scott Glenn and Heather Prete.[2] It opened on October 5, 2004 and closed on November 7, 2004.[3]

Finishing the Picture is a thinly veiled autobiographical examination of the time Miller and his then-wife Marilyn Monroe spent shooting The Misfits (1961).[3] Miller and Monroe's marriage was deteriorating at the time of shoot the summer and fall of 1960 due to her rampant drug abuse, her open infidelity with actor Yves Montand, and her panoply of mental illnesses. Also featured are characters that are closely related to real persons, including a film director reminiscent of John Huston, two acting teachers, clearly based on Monroe's Actors Studio coaches, Lee Strasberg and Paula Strasberg, as well as the play's screenwriter, based on Arthur Miller himself. In an interview conducted before the play's debut, and published in the fall 2006 edition of the Arthur Miller Journal, actor Eli Wallach confirmed that one of the characters was most certainly based on his former Actors Studio colleague Lee Strasberg.


Kitty was a successful actress, a natural choice for a major motion picture. But as production gets under way, Kitty's acting is more and more hindered by mental illness and a drug-induced haze. The play opens with the producer, who must decide whether to cancel the late, over-budget picture altogether, or whether Kitty will be able to finish. Her secretary, a kind-hearted young woman, is said to have been modelled after artist Agnes Barley, who was Miller's live-in girlfriend at the time of the production and was 55 years his junior.


  1. Simonson, Robert. Arthur Miller's Latest, Finishing the Picture, Opens at Goodman Theatre Oct. 5", October 5, 2004
  2. Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review: Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Painted in Words" New York Times, October 11, 2004
  3. 1 2 Abarbanel, Jonathan. Finishing the Picture", October 2004

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