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The Big KnifeFrom left: Chip Zein, Bobby Cannavale, Richard Kind, and Reg Rogers in Clifford Odets's The Big Knife.

Spotlight On: The Big Knife

Bobby Cannavale stars in Clifford Odets’s tale of Hollywood in its Golden Age.

The Big Knife


In the golden age of Hollywood cinema, actors may have all the glory, but studio execs have all the power. The Hoff-Federated studio has had its most successful star, Charlie Castle (Bobby Cannavale), over a barrel ever since it helped cover up a mistake that could have ended his career. Set in a glossy world of rumor mills and rocky friendships, Clifford Odets’ play spotlights how challenging it can be to stay true to yourself—when everyone expects you to play a part.


Spotlight on: "The Big Knife" (Play Revival)
Opening Night - April 16 2013
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  • This is the first-ever Broadway revival of Odets’s play.
  • Bobby Cannavale was also featured this season in the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross.
  • Playwright Odets knew well the Hollywood world he depicted in this play. Among his notable screenplays were None but the Lonely Heart, Humoresque, and Sweet Smell of Success.


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The Big Knife premiered on Broadway in 1949 with John Garfield playing Charlie Castle. Jack Palance took on the role in a 1955 film noir.


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Revised April 21, 2013

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