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Clifford Odets

A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx

December 7, 2022

Under the permissive direction of Garfield-Szita—who also designed the costumes—the cast comes across more as members of a sitcom than a serious drama, not helped by Morgenstein’s dependence on shtick and clichés. The actors work hard to find some emotional resonance in their dialogue, particularly Kusher, O’Brien and Roche who occasionally rise above their lines.  Bell Wolff as Gladys is in a world of her own.  Her voice is a colorful instrument that takes Tomato into an almost surreal place. Morgenstein does have a good feel for what drives each of his characters.  A sweet scene on a fire escape between Eleanor and Sammy shows that the playwright can be subtle and incisive. [more]

Clifford Odets in Staten Island

October 23, 2021

An idealistic down on his luck Filipino American father home schools his two children. To teach them about The Great Depression and the present U.S. economy, he has them study the plays of Clifford Odets. The realistic portions of the production set in a house and outdoors are in color, these alternate with striking black and white performance portions of the boxing drama Golden Boy and the labor strike play Waiting for Lefty in various locales such as the backyard and the den. It’s all quite engaging and hearing Odets’ unique hard-edged poetic dialogue is a lovely reminder of his historic place in the American theater.  [more]

Book Review: “The Actor Uncovered: A Life in Acting” by Michael Howard

March 10, 2017

Mr. Howard is eminently qualified to hold forth on the subject, having been a prominent New York City acting teacher for over 60 years. Concurrently with an active theatrical career, he studied with Sanford Meisner at The Neighborhood Playhouse, and with Lee Strasberg as a member of the Actor’s Studio. In 1953, he founded The Michael Howard Studios. [more]

Awake and Sing! 

July 16, 2015

"Awake and Sing!" seems at first an odd choice for NAATCO, the acting company dedicated to the advancement of Asian actors, but after an initial wary uneasiness, the cast, under the direction of Stephen Brown-Fried, soon takes command of Odets’ dated language, a mixture of poetic metaphor and heightened colloquialisms which was difficult to speak even in the 1930’s. [more]

Rocket to the Moon

March 8, 2015

The Peccadillo Theater Company has finely and faithfully revived this rarely seen Odets play, the 6th of his plays to be produced in the late thirties. They are, “dedicated to the rediscovery of classic American theater, particularly those works which, despite their obvious literary and theatrical value, are not regularly revived.” [more]