Awake and Sing

You are Visitor No:

Counter by Escati



Here is a summary of a production with Walter Mathau in it from I don't know what part Al played in the production he was in.

Walter Matthau heads the cast of this television recreation of Clifford Odets' 1935 hit Broadway play, the first full-length work performed on the commercial stage by the legendary Group Theatre. This portrait of a Jewish family in a Bronx tenement perfectly captures the spirit of the Depression years, and is suffused with details of character and place that combine to be affecting even now. The Bergers, burdened by financial difficulties, have taken in a border—Moe Axelrod (Matthau)—who lost a leg in World War I. Cynical and outspoken, Moe adds a spark to the somewhat accepting lives of the  Bergers. The family fights to survive on sixteen dollars a week while the intellectual, Marxist-leaning grandfather (brilliantly played by famed Yiddish theatre star, Leo Fuchs) tries futilely to spur his family to action with the injunction, "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust ." (Isaiah 26:19)



Will Lee
Lynn Milgrim
John Seitz
Eda Reiss Merin





This is Pacino's Broadway debut and his first performance for paying customers.

He was in a class being taught by his longtime friend Charlie Laughton on this play. Laughten got a friend of his to let them perform it his "Cafe Cino".

"As Pacino spoke his first line, the audience broke up - not because they were laughing at him, but because the line itself was funny. Unfortunately this fact had escaped Pacino's attention. Stumbling outside into an alley, he burst out crying. Laughton followed and spun him around, jolting him back to his senses. 'Al, you've got to play it twice more tonight, he told him,' then twelve more times after that.' It dawned on Pacino that he knew nothing about Saroyan or the play and that he'd better learn fast." Life on the Wire by Andrew Yule

Performed in 1967 at the Charles Playhouse in Boston, Mass.

Written by Clifford Odets

Directed by Michael Murray

Al got paid $125.00 a week   Al Pacino: A Life On the Wire   has a page where you can buy a video of this play (Al is NOT in this version - it is a production starring Walter Mathau).