The Roundabout Theatre Company, Variety's Army Archerd reports, will hold a reading of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing on May 6 at the American Airlines Theatre. The cast for the by-invitation-only performance boasts Patty Duke, Robert Sean Leonard, Marisa Tomei and Ben Shenkman.
Arthur Allan Seidelman, who is scheduled to helm the upcoming Broadway play Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, will direct the reading. (Archerd also reported that Six Dance Lessons would not feature original West Coast stars David Hyde Pierce and Uta Hagen.)
Not-for-profits such as Roundabout routinely read and explore new and classic works in private gatherings, to test the material and gauge artistic interest.
Set in the Bronx in 1933, Odets' Chekhovian play, Awake and Sing, is told in three acts and concerns the story of the Berger family, a lower-middle-class Jewish family. The classic play originally opened at Broadway's Belasco in 1935 with a cast that featured Luther Adler as Moe Axelrod, Stella Adler as Bessie Berger, Roman Bohnen as Schlosser, Phoebe Brand as Hennie Berger, J. E. Bromberg as Uncle Morty, Morris Carnovsky as Jacob Berger, Jules Garfield as Ralph Berger, Sanford Meisner as Sam Feinschreiber and Art Smith as Myron Berger. The most recent New York staging was presented in 1984 at Circle in the Square Theatre starring Nancy Marchand, Harry Hamlin and Frances McDormand.
Patty Duke is best known for her Academy Award-winning work in the 1963 film "The Miracle Worker," repeating the role of Helen Keller that she created on the Broadway stage. Duke has also had much success on television as well, beginning with her own sitcom, "The Patty Duke Show." Robert Sean Leonard has appeared in a host of films, including "Dead Poets Society," "The Age of Innocence," and "Tape," and he earned a Tony Award for his role in The Invention of Love. Leonard's other Broadway credits include The Music Man, Arcadia, The Iceman Cometh, You Never Can Tell, Breaking the Code and Candida (Tony nomination). Marisa Tomei nabbed an Oscar for her work in "My Cousin Vinny" and was up for an award again this season for "In the Bedroom." Onstage, she has been seen in Waiting for Lefty, Rocket to the Moon, Slavs! and Fat Men in Skirts. Tomei made her Broadway debut opposite Quentin Tarantino in Wait Until Dark. Ben Shenkman earned a Tony nomination for his Broadway bow in Proof. His other New York theatre credits include The Deep Blue Sea; Baby Anger; Antony and Cleopatra; Oh, the Innocents; 3 in the Back, 2 in the Head; Venus; and Baton Rouge. He's playing Louis in the HBO miniseries, "Angels in America." —By Andrew Gans