Clifford Odets

Plays by Clifford Odets

audio Awake and Sing!

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Clifford Odets’ masterpiece, starring Mark Ruffalo, Richard Kind and Ben Gazzara, brings to life the struggles of a working-class family aspiring to the promise of the American Dream. Even as they endure the country’s worst economic nightmare, three generations of an immigrant family are crowded into a Bronx tenement, fiercely determined to stay afloat, no matter what the cost.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Emily Bergl as Hennie Berger Ben Gazzara as Jacob Jonathan Hadary as Myron Berger Jane Kaczmarek as Bessie Berger Richard Kind as Uncle Morty Peter Kybart as Schlosser Mark Ruffalo as Moe Axelrod Raphael Sbarge as Sam Feinschreiber Peter Smith as Ralph Berger Directed by Bartlett Sher. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Emily Bergl, Ben Gazzara, Jonathan Hadary, Jane Kaczmarek, Richard Kind, Peter Kybart, Mark Ruffalo, Raphael Sbarge, Peter Smith

audio The Country Girl

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

"One of America's great dramatists rocked the worlds of Broadway and Hollywood in this moving drama about a desperately self-destructive alcoholic actor and Georgie, his long-suffering wife. A searing, emotional play of love and redemption.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance starring:

Harry Hamlin as Bernie Dodd

Stacy Keach as Frank Elgin

Mare Winningham as Georgie Elgin

Jamie Hanes as Larry

Rick Podell as Phil Cook

Spencer Garrett as Paul Unger

Mandy Siegfried as Nancy Stoddard

Directed by Nancy Malone. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles."

Featuring: Spencer Garrett, Harry Hamlin, Jamie Hanes, Stacy Keach, Rick Podell, Mandy Siegfried, Mare Winningham

Clifford Odets (1906–1963) was a playwright and screenwriter, whose major plays articulate the faith that an economically debilitated society can create a new world in which 'happiness isn't printed on dollar bills.' As a young actor in the late 1920s, Odets was a charter member of the newly formed Group Theater. Making little impact as an actor, he turned to playwriting, though the Group leadership would not produce him until the sensational success of a play Odets wrote for a radical theatre benefit: Waiting for Lefty (1935). About the conversion to militancy of a series of taxi cab workers, Lefty like John Osborne's Look Back in Anger two decades later, struck the chord of its era, and within a few months of its debut was performed all over the world. The Group rushed into production an earlier play by its new sensation, Awake and Sing! (1935), which revealed the young dramatist as not only a fervent revolutionary but a skilful recorder of lower middle-class Jewish life. Throughout the remainder of the life of the Group, which exactly coincided with the decade, Odets was its major playwright, with Harold Clurman directing productions of Paradise Lost (1935). Golden Boy (1937), Rocket to the Moon (1939) and Night Music (1940). Yet Odets' relationship with the Group was ambivalent and often conducted at long distance, since he had succumbed to Hollywood's blandishments and gone west to write such screenplays as The General Died at Dawn (1936) and Blockade (1938). Returning to New York in 1937, he offered the Group Golden Boy, a cautionary prize-fighting parable about the lust for success, characterized by a revulsion best expressed in his later play The Big Knife (1949), a definitive excoriation of Hollywood mendacity. His tortured love affair with the film capital lasted until his death there in 1963. Odets enjoyed his greatest post-Group success with The Country Girl (1950), an apolitical study of an alcoholic actor and his wife. Despite Odets' loss of radical commitment, he was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952, where he performed the demanded act of contrition by naming communists in the Group. The last decade of his life was spent largely in the worlds of film and television, his last substantial achievement ironically being the screenplay for Sweet Smell of Success (1957). from Gerald Rabkin, The Continuum Companion to Twentieth-Century Theatre, ed. Colin Chambers (London, 2002).