Awake and Sing! - NIU - School of Theatre and Dance

Awake and Sing!

By Clifford Odets

Written by American playwright, Clifford Odets, and premiered by the legendary Group Theatre on Broadway in 1935, Awake and Sing! is noteworthy as the first-ever Broadway show that focused entirely on an ethnic minority family. Widely considered to be Odets' finest work, it is the story of the Bergers, three generations of a lower-middle-class, immigrant Jewish family living in a Bronx, New York, apartment, in 1933. The family of grandparents, parents and children has come to America believing in the promise of making a better world for each of its members, but with the exceedingly unfortunate timing of having done so during the darkest years of the Great Depression.

Struggling with the opposing values of financial success as defined by the American Dream, and desperately trying to avoid defining their lives by the dollar, the Bergers' confrontation with the extreme economic hardships is both starkly dramatic and unavoidably, richly comedic.

Giving a voice to the voiceless and the disenfranchised, Odets' Awake and Sing! is a true to life depiction of a working-class family during the Depression, under conditions which are beyond its control. Odets explores the travails, hopes and personal courage as they strive for what they believe to be right and important to long term survival.

(This SoTD production is not affiliated with DeKalb CUSD #428)