The New Yiddish Rep’s current production of Awake and Sing, Clifford Odets’ 1935 American masterpiece, is a 21st century miracle. It validates Artistic Director David Mandelbaum’s mishegas/obsession of establishing a Yiddish acting company performing modern plays, either written or translated into Yiddish, that attract diverse appreciative audiences of many ages, which describes the ticket holders at the performance I attended. – Theater Pizzazz
Clifford Odets began his career in 1931 as an actor with The Group Theater, a New York company of which he was a founding member. He shortly turned to writing and his first play for the Group, Waiting for Lefty (1935), immediately launched him as the most celebrated American playwright of the 1930s. Lefty, as well as four other major Broadway productions in that decade, introduced theater audiences to subject matter and language that had never before been heard on the American stage. This work deeply influenced generations of American playwrights to follow. Odets’ other best-known plays are Golden Boy, The Country Girl, The Flowering Peach, The Big Knife, Rocket to the Moon, Paradise Lost and Clash by Night. Screenplay credits include Sweet Smell of Success, Humoresque, The General Died at Dawn, None but the Lonely Heart and The Story on Page One. Directing credits include both None but the Lonely Heart and The Story on Page One.