I first read Beckett in Ruby Cohn's modern drama class in college. I know we read Godot. I had some notion of Beckett but hadn't read his fiction. There were some performances of Beckett at UC Davis, too, when I was there. I remember people complaining that the works were too difficult. I disagreed.
Cohn was what you might call a descriptive critic. Not impressive as an intellect at all. She was a Beckett specialist though.
I remember reading an article or book-chapter by Perloff discussing Ill Seen Ill Said. I discovered a whole new Beckett here, because, because of its success, Godot had become a bit of a cliché. The most famous play of the most famous playwright of the most influential mid-century movement in drama: the theater of the absurd. At one time I actually memorized great portions of Beckett's short novel, and of a play called "Ohio Impromptu."
I did publish an article [partially] on Beckett around 2007.
Now I'm comparing Beckett and Lorca as influences on US theater. It's no contest, really, because SB is the most famous and influential dramatist of the most renowned movement of the period. While I hate that people only know Godot, this play is just emblematic of a whole existentialist / absurdist movement. But Lorca turns out to be almost everywhere you look too, in a less systematic way. Though it also turns out the playwrights read his poetry as much as they do his drama.