The ReGroup Theatre Presents SUCCESS STORY and LOUD SPEAKER, Beginning in March
With the blessing and support of Lawson's children, Jeffrey & Mandy, The ReGroup has presented two staged readings and republished his 2 Group Theatre plays, Success Story and Gentlewoman. For 2013, they bring two of Lawson's plays to full production and are republishing all of his plays in hopes of restoring Lawson's name to the list of great American Playwrights. A direct influence on Clifford Odets, Lawson was called the "hope of our theatre," by Group Theatre co-founder, Harold Clurman. The project- ReClaiming Names - focuses on righting the wrongs done over half a century ago. The HUAC hearings are part of American history, but the fact that Lawson's masterful plays are still out of print and unknown is a shame and shows the HUAC damage still has yet to be undone. Hopefully, through this exposure to his works, audiences will realize a missing piece of American and theatrical history. Lawson was a great influence not only on Odets, but Brecht and Miller.
The first play in repertoire is Success Story, originally the third play performed by The Group Theatre, and featuring the talents of Luther & Stella Adler, Franchot Tone, Morris Carnovsky and many more. It was directed by Lee Strasberg. Presented as a staged reading as the first entry of the newly formed ReGroup Theatre 4 years ago, it received tremendous acclaim and a full page article by Peter Filichia. Clifford Odets, understudy for the lead in the production wrote to extent as to how much he was influenced by Lawson. Fed up with not getting the chance to perform the role, Odets channeled Lawson's "hectic poetry compounded from the slogans of advertisements, the slang of gangsterdom, and echoes of Old Testament music," and began writing himself. Upon experiencing Success Story, the parallels between the Lawson play and Mr. Odets's Golden Boy are very evident.