Odets to Sing Again on Broadway With Lincoln Center Staging of Awake and Sing!

News   Odets to Sing Again on Broadway With Lincoln Center Staging of Awake and Sing!
 
The work of Clifford Odets' decade-long exile from Broadway will end with a spring mounting of Awake and Sing!, produced by Lincoln Center Theatre and directed by The Light in the Piazza's Barlett Sher.

Previews will begin March 23 at the Belasco Theatre. Opening is April 17. No casting has been announced.

The play concerns a Jewish family in the Bronx who’ve fallen on hard times during the Depression. It was first produced in 1935 (at the Belasco). The Group Theatre production was directed by Harold Clurman, with Luther and Stella Adler, John Garfield and Stanford Meisner in the cast. It was brought back to Broadway in 1938, 1939 and 1984, when Theodore Mann directed Nancy Marchand, Harry Hamlin, Dick Latessa and France McDormand at Circle in the Square.

Sher's design team will include set designer Michael Yeargan, costume designer Catherine Zuber and lighting designer Christopher Akerlind—the same group that designed Piazza.

Odets was one of the original members of the socially conscious Group Theatre. Most of his plays premiered with that company, which flourished in the 1930s. His first success was the fiery one-act about a taxi drivers strike, Waiting for Lefty. That drama, along with Awake and Sing!, which followed soon after, turned Odets into the era's Boy Wonder of the theatre. These plays were followed by Till The Day I Die, Paradise Lost, Golden Boy, Rocket to the Moon, Night Music, Clash By Night, The Big Knife and The Country Girl.

His ongoing theme was the injustice done to the working class in America and the uphill battle of the idealistic individual in a ruthless capitalistic society. Given that, he greatly disappointed his Group Theatre colleagues and his public when, in 1935, he left for Hollywood—a move that seemed in direct conflict with the company's ethos. Soon after, he married the film star Luise Rainer. Odets would write many screenplays (include co-scripting "The Sweet Smell of Success") and few more plays, but most critics agreed this work never matched the fire of his early efforts. In the 1950s, he was blacklisted for his left-leaning sympathies. Odets died in 1963 at the age of 57.

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