It's pretty good when you get a rave review in the Houston Press; it's even better when the Wall Street Journal flies in to see your performance and rhapsodizes over it.
Terry Teachout, the well-respected Journal critic, turns out to be a fan of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing. The Depression-era play is rarely revived anymore, so when he heard Main Street Theater in Houston was doing it, he came to town.
I confess to not having expected a stageful of Houston-based actors to speak Odets's dialogue with the idiomatic snap that you'd take for granted from a New York cast. Was I wrong! Not only is Main Street Theater's ensemble cast at home with every line, but they put across the play's angry warmth so believably that you'd think you were sitting at the table with them. It helps that they're performing in a 99-seat theater-in-the-round on a set whose faded furnishings look as though they'd been swiped from a Lower East Side junk shop. Cheryl L. Kaplan, the director, has made smart use of this intimate space, encouraging her actors to give finely detailed performances whose every nuance is legible.
Great publicity for what seems to be a great production.
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Teachout also praised some Dallas production of something, but we're sure that was only a momentary lapse of reason.