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