Waiting for Lefty

Introduction

Waiting for Lefty is a 1935 play by the American playwright Clifford Odets. Consisting of a series of related vignettes, the entire play is framed by the meeting of cab drivers who are planning a labor strike. The framing uses the audience as part of the meeting.

While this was not Odets' first play, this was the first to be produced. It was staged by the Group Theatre, a New York theatre company founded by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg, of which Odets was a member. The company was founded as a training ground for actors, and also to support new plays, especially those that mirrored the social and political climate of the day. Waiting for Lefty was the first real critical and popular success for the Group Theatre, appearing on Broadway as well as in cities around the United States. It had its British premiere in 1938 at the Unity Theatre, whose production so impressed a visiting contingent of the American Group Theatre that Unity Theatre was given the British rights to the play.


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