The original Broadway production was produced by Kermit Bloomgarden and Walter Fried. The play opened at the Morosco Theatre on February 10, 1949, closing on November 18, 1950, after 742 performances. The play starred Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman, Mildred Dunnock as Linda, Arthur Kennedy as Biff, Howard Smith as Charley and Cameron Mitchell as Happy. Albert Dekker and Gene Lockhart later played Willy Loman during the original Broadway run. It won the Tony Award for Best Play, Best Supporting or Featured Actor ( Arthur Kennedy ), Best Scenic Design ( Jo Mielziner ), Producer (Dramatic), Author ( Arthur Miller ), and Director ( Elia Kazan ), as well as the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play. Jayne Mansfield performed in a production of the play in Dallas , Texas , in October 1953. Her performance in the play attracted Paramount Pictures to hire her for the studio's film productions. 
Critics reacted positively to the season.  During its 1991 Program awards, Entertainment Weekly , ranked Seinfeld second place in the "Program of the year" category, behind Roseanne .  Joseph P. Kahn, a critic for the Wilmington Morning Star , praised the writing and acting of the season premiere and stated, "One safe prediction, Seinfeld will be here for a good long run this time around."  Writing for The Spokesman-Review , critic Jon Burlingame stated that " Seinfeld is an offbeat take on the standard sitcom concept. While rarely hilarious, it's often smart and amusing."  Dave Kehr of The New York Times felt that "The Pony Remark" was a turning point for the show, noting that after the first few episodes, the show "turn[ed] into something sharp and distinctive [...] Here, suddenly, is the tight knot of guilt and denial, of hypersensitivity and sarcastic contempt that Seinfeld would explore for the next eight years."  Despite the critical acclaim for the season and several of its episodes, two of the season's episodes, " The Busboy " and " The Baby Shower ", were named to a list of Seinfeld ' s "Not-so-top episodes", compiled by the New York Daily News .