Barry Witham, "From Red-Baiting to Blacklisting: The Labor Plays of Manny Fried" (SIU Press 2020)


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From Red-Baiting to Blacklisting: The Labor Plays of Manny Fried (SIU Press 2020) collects three plays by Manny Fried alongside a thorough explanation of his work and life by theatre scholar Barry Witham. Witham traces Fried’s long career as a labor organizer and Communist Party militant, as well as the obsessive lengths the FBI went to in order to suppress his activism. Fried is unique among American playwrights in his intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the labor movement, and this knowledge is fully evident in the plays. Issues of red-baiting, deindustrialization, and religious bigotry take center stage in his work, which carries the radical tradition of Clifford Odets and the Federal Theatre Project into the long decline of labor beginning in the 1960s and continuing to this day. From Red-Baiting to Blacklisting is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of theatre and the labor movement.

Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is, and he can be reached at

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