Luckily for Miller and for the American stage, All My Sons was a success. Opening at the Coronet Theatre on January 29, 1947, the first night's notices were mixed--with the crucial exception of the New York Times , whose Brooks Atkinson admired Miller as a genuine new talent. As usual, the Times review swayed all the others, and All My Sons ran for 328 performances (quite respectable at that time) and won the New York Drama Critics' Circle award for best play of 1947, beating out Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh (which at the time had been coolly received and would only become a landmark of American drama in retrospect).
We also know Miller's work because of his other two famous plays: The Crucible and Death of a Salesman . It was clear to many people that The Crucible 's subtext was about contemporary witch hunts orchestrated by Senator Joseph McCarthy (1909--1957) in the early 1950s. McCarthy conducted Senate hearings that were supposed to flush out suspected communists from government and other areas of American life, including the Arts. In the anti-communist hysteria that possessed the nation, many writers, artists, and performers came under close, often unfair, scrutiny for their political views and allegiances. Some were blacklisted--prevented from working in comercial theaters and movie companies--some were imprisoned for not testifying at others' trials, adn some had reputations and careers destroyed.