Local Actors to Star in 'Awake and Sing' Drama at Axial Theatre

Yorktown resident Howard Meyer is Axial Theatre's founder and artistic director. A number of local actors, including Richard Manichello, of Peekskill, are starring the production.

Axial Theatre founder and artistic director Howard Meyer, of Yorktown, will premiere an ensemble production of Clifford Odets’ classic Depression-era drama, Awake and Sing! this weekend in Pleasantville. 

The theatre is opening its 14th season and it will be staging a classic Broadway drama in its entirety for the first time, according to Meyer. Starring in the production are Richard Manichello, of Peekskill; Ryan Mallon, of Yorktown; Laura Credidio, of Somers; and Ann Gulian, of Ossining.

"A powerful spirit emerges in an ensemble production," Meyer said. "Existing relationships that have been cultivated over years allow the actors to go deeper and take more risks once rehearsal begins. There is reciprocity of trust. The same dynamic that was the foundation of the Group Theatre is at work here."

Opening night for the show is tonight, followed by a wine and cheese and talk back with the creative team. The show will run Thursdays through Sundays until Nov. 4.

Awake and Sing! was originally performed in 1935 under the direction of Harold Clurman by the Group Theatre in New York. The play, which is set in the peak of the Great Depression in 1933, has themes that are still relevant today – a depressed economy, businesses failing, high unemployment, home foreclosures and multi-generations of families financially forced to live together.

Despite his dark summary of the major themes, the play's director Francesco Campari said audience members should view the play with optimism.

"It’s a message of encouragement and promise for a better tomorrow," Meyer said.

Following the matinee performance on Sunday, Oct. 28, there will be a post-performance interview conducted by former New York City anchorwoman Roz Abrams, a member of the Axial Theatre Company Board of Directors, with Bob Plunkett, a Wall Street analyst and commentator for Cablevision's News 12. They will discuss the modern-day relevance of the Depression-era play, how it compares to the recession, and Plunkett’s view of the pulse of Wall Street a week before the Presidential election.

The Axial Theatre is located at 18 Sunnyside Ave. in Pleasantville. The curtain is at 8 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays and 4 p.m. pm on Sundays. Tickets are $20; $15 for students and seniors. All tickets are $35 on opening night, Oct. 20. For reservations and group sales visit www.brownpapertickets.com. For further information call Jaki Silver at 516-984-4515.

Members of the cast are:

Actor Character Hometown Ann Gulian* Bessie Berger Ossining Ryan Mallon* Ralph Berger Yorktown Heights Ward Riley* Jacob New Jersey Sean Weil* Moe Axelrod Valhalla Laura Credidio Hennie Berger Somers Adam Glatzl Sam Feinschreiber Mt. Kisco Mark Gorham Myron Berger South Salem native Gail Greenstein Schlosser Katonah Richard Manichello Morty Peekskill Francesco Campari Director New York Howard Meyer Founder & Artistic Director, Axial Theatre Yorktown (* indicates leading role)


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