One of last season's hottest Off-Broadway tickets was a revival of Clifford Odets' Golden Boy, directed for the fledgling Blue Light Theatre Company by Joanne Woodward. Now Woodward, who serves with husband, Paul Newman, on the theatre's board of advisors, has staged another Odets work for the company, Waiting For Lefty, about a taxi union's vote to go on strike.
Written in 1935, the original production planted real cab drivers in the audience to lend authenticity to the cries of "Strike! Strike!". Like Godot, Lefty never shows up in this staunchly socialist piece. Lefty was supposed to run April 19-May 18 but was extended an extra week, to May 25, due to strong audience interest. The Blue Light Theatre Company show plays at the Classic Stage Company space on NY's East 13th St.
Woodward is best known as a film actress; The Three Faces Of Eve netted her a 1957 Oscar. Starring in her Lefty are stage and film actress Marisa Tomei, an Oscar-winner for My Cousin Vinny and seen in New York in Demonology, Slavs! and Fat Men In Skirts. She worked with Woodward on Odets' Rocket To The Moon, summer 1996, at the Williamstown Festival.
Also in the cast are Blue Light company members Greg Naughton, Alex Draper, Lee Wilkof, and P.J. Brown, as well as Peter Jacobson (Rhinoceros, June Moon), Wood Harris, Jerry Mayer, Lisa Pitts and Scott Whitehurst.
Founded in 1995 on the principal of "reinvestment," Blue Light Theatre Company "strives to give young working actors the opportunity to grow by working with established theatre artists." For information about Waiting For Lefty, at the Classic Stage Company space, 136 East 13 St., call (212) 279-4200.
--By David Lefkowitz