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Where Are They Now, Department: Laurence O'Dwyer

by Jerome Weeks 25 Oct 2011 12:38 PM

Longtime Theatre 3 mainstay Laurence O’Dwyer has become a familiar figure at Baltimore’s Centerstage. But now he just made an acclaimed appearance at Washington’s Arena Stage.


Last we heard, longtime Theatre 3 mainstay Laurence O’Dwyer had become a mainstay (“associate artist”) of Baltimore’s Centerstage (he played Lady Bracknell in their production of The Importance of Being Earnest). But now he just finished up a run in Washington’s Arena Stage.

O’Dwyer had a choice character role in Alice Childress’ Trouble in Mind, about an integrated theater company trying to open a “race play” on Broadway in 1957.  Needless to say, things don’t go smoothly (Childress — and not Lorraine “Raisin in the Sun” Hansberry — was the first African-American woman to have a play produced with professional Equity actors.)  In his review, Peter Marks in the Washington Post made a special note of “that compact pillar of excellence, Laurence O’Dwyer, as the geezer of a backstage gofer, Henry,” while Hilton Als in The New Yorker (pay wall) approvingly gives O’Dwyer’s Henry the last lines of the review — when he turns on an applause machine for the frustrated black actress who’s the star of the show.

Photo by Richard Anderson