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, will stage 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 will run April 19-May 18 at the Classic Stage Company space on East 13th St. Woodward is best known as a film actress; The Three Faces Of Eve netted her a 1957 Oscar.
Starring in Lefty will be 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.
In other Blue Light news, the company will hold its second annual spring benefit -- titled "An Evening Of Song And Celebration -- at downtown's Irving Plaza. Hosting the gala will be Whoopi Goldberg (Forum), Frank Langella (Present Laughter) and James Naughton (Golden Boy, Chicago). Appearing in the May 12 variety show will be singers Phoebe Snow and Buskin & Batteau, actors Alec Baldwin, Greg Naughton, Dylan Baker and Molly Regan, and dancers from Broadway's Chicago. (Baker just finished staging Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen Of Verona, for the company Feb. 14-March 16.) 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, which officially opens at the Classic Stage Company space, 136 East 13 St., April 27, call (212) 279-4200.
--By David Lefkowitz