August 9, 1950
Howard Fast's First Play, 'The Hammer' Opens Sept. 8
Howard Fast's first play, The Hammer, will open the evening of September 8 at Czechslovak Hall, its sponsor, New Playwrights, Inc., the producer of Longitude 49, announced today.
Rehearsals of The Hammer are underway while its author, America's foremost democratic novelist, is in jail along with his valiant colleagues of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, for refusing to surrender their organization's lists for persecution of the Un-American Committee.
The courageous author of The Hammer is probably America's best-known writer the world over. His books have been translated in almost every written language on the face of the globe. Seven million copies of works like Citizen Tom Paine, Freedom Road, My Glorious Brothers, The Unvanquished, Clarkton, The American have been sold in this country alone.
Fast is also on the board of the group, New Playwrights, Inc., which is producing the play. New Playwrights, which produced Longitude 49, recently announced its program of continuous production for the coming year and its policy of building a militant left-wing theatre in New York. The group's next production will be Barnard Rubin's Candy Store.
On the board of New Playwrights, Inc., are, besides Fast, Barnard Rubin, who is director of the group, Mike Gold, Alice Childress, Arnold Manoff, Herb Tank, Herbert Armstrong and Frank Silvera.
The Hammer, about the return of a Jewish war veteran of World War II to his family, is under the direction of Al Saxe, the noted people's theatre director. Mr. Saxe's list of works includes heartily applauded productions of Waiting for Lefty, Sean O'Casey's The Silver Tassie and The Plough and the Stars, and another Odets, Awake and Sing.
Earl Jones, the well-known Negro actor, will play one of the leading roles in The Hammer--a so-called "white" part--in line with New Playwright's policy of anti-jimcrow casting according to ability. Mr. Jones was last seen in the recent Cedric Hardwick revival of George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra..
Booking and theatre parties for The Hammer at special discounts for organizations interested in fund-raising are now available. Miss Virginia Muir, business manager of New Playwrights, Inc., is in charge and she can be reached at the New Playwrights office in the Czechslovak House, 347 E. 72 St., Phone Rhinelander 4-9273..