In the mid-90s, Arthur Miller was overseeing the Broadway revival of his most famous play, A Death of a Salesman. He often came to Trattoria Dell’Arte after the theater to enjoy his favorite dish, Penne Arrabiata.
He usually came alone and sat in the main dining room off to the right. He was a quiet, brooding, and observant man who enjoyed soaking in the ambiance. I don’t think anyone recognized who he was or realized how important this man was to American theater and letters. Aside from his immensely popular, A Death of a Salesman, considered among the finest American plays in the 20th century, Miller had also written several other critically acclaimed plays including All My Sons (1947), The Crucible (1953), and A View from the Bridge (1955).
But one night, I spotted him sitting at one of his regular tables and approached him to talk about how his play was coming along. He said the reviews were great and enjoyed the adulation and attention it was receiving, yet again.
After a few minutes of chatting, I started checking our other diners in the various rooms until I came across a female sitting in the adjacent Green Room. She asked me who I had been talking to because she could see the Yellow Room—as we referred to it—from her perch. I said he was a well-known writer and nothing more. As I continued checking on more diners, she became more curious. She was visiting from New Orleans and was an artist herself and wondered if “that man” would like to keep her company since they were the only two eating alone as far as she could see. I told her I would ask.
When I approached Miller again, I told him about the woman who wanted him to join her. Surprised by the offer, Miller said, “What does she look like? Is she attractive? I mean, you do realize I was once married to Marilyn Monroe.” “Well, that’s a high bar for anyone to match,” I replied, “but if you’re interested, I can introduce you to her.”
Well, in minutes, Miller was up and following me to the next room. From where he sat, you could not make out who was sitting in the Green Room because it was always dimly lit, but as he got closer, his gait slowed down, and he looked at me with a grimace. I don’t think she was what he was expecting, but he extended his hand to shake hers, exchanged a few pleasantries, and said, “Thank you, Charles, but I have a big day tomorrow, and I have to get up early.” Then he turned to the lady and said, “It was nice meeting you.” And with that, he was off.
Former restauranteur, musician, concert promoter, producer, publisher, manager, and impresario, Charles Carlini has synthesized these roles to become a dynamic force in the music industry–noted for his ability to bring diverse talent together to create innovative concerts and recordings that reach and move music-lovers everywhere.