Harold Clurman
'Tobacco Road' at La Jolla Playhouse

WHEN "Tobacco Road" premiered on Broadway in 1933, it pushed the envelope with its unsavory depiction of rural poverty. Would theatergoers looking for a fun night out want to have their noses rubbed in the degrading conditions of destitute Georgia sharecroppers? As it turned out, the middle class had a real appetite for this sort of filthy fingernail naturalism. Seventy-five years later, "Tobacco Road" remains the second longest-running drama in Broadway history. But those who attend the La Jolla Playhouse revival, which opened Sunday under the direction of David Schweizer, are likely to understand why the play (relic is more like it) has rarely been revived since the...