The cast for the Broadway revival of Clifford Odets’ 1937 play “Golden Boy” did a lot of work to familiarize themselves with boxing. At Thursday’s party at the Millennium Broadway, star Seth Numrich said he started training in the ring as soon as he got cast last spring, and Aussie cast member Yvonne Strahovski had the squawk of a period New Jersey accent down to perfection.
Co-star Danny Burstein, who plays a trainer, had already started to get the pugilistic scoop from his friend, late sportswriter George Kimball. “Honestly, it’s like you lift a rock,” Burstein said of the behind-the-matches milieu. “Every play should take place in the boxing world, I’m telling you.”
Helmer Bartlett Sher had his own take on the art-vs.-fame dilemma presented in the play, as compared to the optimism that shines through in “Awake and Sing,” the earlier Odets play that Sher directed in 2006. In Sher’s view, “Golden Boy” has its own resonance with the Hollywood backstory of Odets’ own life.
“He’s a bit more corrosive and screwy in his idealism in this play,” Sher said. “He was in Hollywood making $5,000 a week, and then Clurman flew out and said, ‘You gotta help me save the Group Theater.’ And this is what he wrote.”