See boxing drama Golden Boy onstage in two ways

Catch a revival of Clifford Odets's 1937 play and a one-night staging of its musical adaptation.



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Nate Santana and Norm Woodel in Golden Boy at Griffin Theatre Company

Nate Santana and Norm Woodel in Golden Boy at Griffin Theatre Company Photo: Michael Brosilow

Chicago theater audiences have a unique opportunity next week to see two versions of Clifford Odets's prizefighting drama Golden Boy side by side.

On Monday, February 24, Griffin Theatre Company opens a revival of the original 1937 Golden Boy, about a young Italian-American boxer named Joe Bonaparte, torn between his incipient career as a violinist and the lure of the ring. It's now in previews at Theater Wit, directed by Jonathan Berry.

And next door at Stage 773, on Wednesday, February 26, Porchlight Music Theatre stages the rarely seen 1964 Broadway musical Golden Boy. Adapted by Odets and William Gibson, with a jazzy score by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse (Bye Bye Birdie, Applause), the musical turns Joe Bonaparte into Joe Wellington, an African-American man from Harlem; it was written for Sammy Davis Jr. Chuck Smith directs the one-night-only concert reading as part of the "Porchlight Revisits…" series. Griffin's Golden Boy plays through April 6.

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