(@Joan Marcus)

How It’s New York:  New York is still the theatre metropolis.  In addition to these productions we’ve had a bunch of Broadway openings lately, and there will be more to come.
How It’s Irish:  These plays are by Irish writers, on Irish themes.  Some have Irish performers, some come from Irish theatres. 

When the 1st Irish Festival takes place in September there’s always a lot of Irish theatre happening.  Suddenly we get our Christmas/Hannukah presents early with can’t-miss productions.  Though not all of them have holiday themes, they’d all be great holiday excursions.  Some have very short runs (Misterman and James X, I’m looking at you, and Krapp’s Last Tape also!) so we’ll point them out now, with reviews to come!  All of these are on the Calendar too, and remember anything on the Calendar can be added to your own Google Calendar, and it will send you alarms and reminders.  But these are selling out fast.   What have we got?

Running Now:  Once, Misterman, Dancing at Lughnasa
A stage version of the film with Glen Hansard and Marketá Irglová, with book by playwright Enda Walsh; a play by Enda Walsh, starring Cillian Murphy, that was a hit at the Galway Arts Festival; the 20th anniversary production of Brian Friel’s beautiful memory play; John Hurt making his NY City Stage Debut in Samuel Beckett’s haunting memory play Krapp’s Last Tape
Starting This Week:  Krapp’s Last Tape, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, James X
Samuel Beckett’s memory play (which, like Misterman, relies on tape recordings), starring John Hurt; a musical concert presentation of Dylan Thomas’ lovely memory of being a child at Christmas time, and Gerard Mannix Flynn’s searing one-man show about a man facing a Tribunal dealing with the institutions that abused him– directed by Gabriel Byrne.  

 Basic details below but check the calendar and the individual websites for details of times and dates.

Once (the Musical)
The creators of the acclaimed Black Watch, director JohnTiffany and choreographer Steven Hoggett, join forces with playwright/screenwriter Enda Walsh (Penelope, Hunger, The Walworth Farce) to bring the hit independent film ONCE, winner of a 2007 Academy Award for the hit song “Falling Slowly,” to the stage. The show runs through January 1 only, and many performances are already sold out.
On the streets of Dublin, an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant are drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, an unexpected friendship and collaboration quickly evolves into a powerful but complicated love story, underscored by the emotionally charged music that has made ONCE an international sensation.
NYTW Box Office  
79 East 4th Street  
(between Bowery and 2nd Ave) 
Admission: $75

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) presents John Hurt in Krapp’s Last Tape

DEC. 6 – 18 ONLY

BAM’s 150th anniversary celebration continues through Dec 2012
American Express is the BAM 2011 Next Wave Festival sponsor

In his New York City stage debut, Oscar nominee John Hurt exposes the wry, forlorn, and acerbic reflections of a depleted writer in this one-act tragedy. Reprising his role in the Gate Theatre’s critically acclaimed Dublin and London production of Krapp’s Last Tape, Hurt plays the titular character who, in marking the occasion of his 69th birthday, revisits his 39-year-old self by listening to a birthday recording made 30 years earlier. Krapp is met by a younger, cocksure version of himself, and as the tape plays, he’s confronted by the numerous chances at happiness and true love that he squandered in his efforts to become a world famous literary figure. Veering from outrage to contemplation, Krapp exhibits the ticks and tocks of a beaten man unable to find comfort, and whose spirit unravels as the tapes unspool in “all that old misery” of lost time.

Brooklyn Academy of Music
651 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11217-1486
718.636.4129 (phone)
718.857.2021 (fax)

$25 and up    

ALSO:  BAMcinématek presents John Hurt Quartet
To coincide with John Hurt’s appearance on the BAM stage in Krapp’s Last Tape this cine-quartet offers a selection of our favorite film performances by Mr. Hurt.
Films:The Elephant Man (1980, Lynch), Love and Death on Long Island (1997, Kwietniowski), Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984, Radford), Scandal (1989, Caton-Jones).
Dec 12—15
BAMRose Cinemas
Tickets: $12 ($7 for BAM Cinema Club members)

(@Pavel Antonov)
with Cillian Murphy

A Landmark Productions / Galway Arts Festival Co-Production

Thomas is on a journey. Where did it begin? What voices does he hear? And what will they tell him to do?

Following an immensely acclaimed world premiere at the Galway Arts Festival this past summer, St. Ann’s Warehouse and Imagine Ireland will present the American Premiere of Misterman, November 30—December 21 at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Murphy makes his American stage debut with a tour-de-force solo performance in this Landmark Productions / Galway Arts Festival co-production, his first collaboration with playwright/director Enda Walsh since Disco Pigs, which launched both men’s careers 15 years ago.

Written and directed by Enda Walsh, Misterman is a dark, dangerous and blisteringly funny tale about a proselytizing, small-town fanatic on his own judgment day. Portraying the unraveling protagonist Thomas Magill, self-proclaimed moral leader of Inishfree, Murphy navigates an emotional spectrum that ranges from minutely subtle to unsettlingly explosive.

Misterman was first produced in 1999; for the new production, Walsh has greatly expanded the text. 

St. Ann’s Warehouse Box Office
38 Water Street
Tickets $45 and up

James X
Written and performed by Gerard Mannix Flynn
Directed by Gabirel Byrne

Presented by Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, and Culture Project

An Irish government tribunal of inquiry into the institutions responsible for the cruel and inhumane treatment of children is in session.  In the foyer, James X, one of those children, now a man, anxiously prepares to offer the testimony which he hopes will unshackle him from the past.  As he waits, James is confronted with the fact that the tribunal he is about to go before is part of the very same system what made prisoners of children like him.   Sighting this truth prompts him to tell the story which will really, finally, set him free.

Gerard Mannix Flynn, born in Dublin in 1957, has carved out a multi-faceted artistic career as a writer, actor, playwright, politician, political activist, and visual artist and in 2009 he was elected an independent councilor for the South East Inner City area in Dublin.  His experience in Irish institutions, including an 18 month stint in St Joseph ‘s Industrial School, where he was sent at age 11, has informed much of his work, including the autobiographical novel, Nothing to Say, in 1983 and James X.

Gabriel Byrne is best known as an actor, having starred in over 35 feature films including The Usual Suspects.  His producing credits include the Academy Award nominated In The Name of the Father.  He was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of James Tyrone in A Moon for the Misbegotten and he appeared with the Culture Project in The Exonerated.  More recently he was heralded for his performance as Dr. Paul Weston in the HBO drama, “In Treatment.”

Culture Project
45 Bleecker st.
Tickets $40, student rush $15 with valid ID.

The Irish Repertory Theatre presents the 20th Anniversary production
of Brian Friel’s Tony Award-winning masterpiece.
By Brian Friel
(@Carol Rosegg)
Directed by Charlotte Moore

Read our review HERE

DANCING AT LUGHNASA opened on Broadway in October, 1991 and won the
1992 Tony Award for Best Play.

This extraordinary play, widely regarded as Friel’s masterpiece, is
the study of five unmarried sisters, named for Friel’s mother and
sisters, (“those five brave, Glenties women”) who live in a modest
cottage in Donegal. On the threshold of the autumn of 1936, the
household revolves around the eight year old love-child, Michael, and
the Mundy brother priest, Uncle Jack, recently returned from 25 years
in a leper colony in Uganda. Ancient tribal customs and Christian
beliefs clash as the autumnal fires celebrating the Harvest God, Lugh,
bathe the landscape in golden light and distant music on the radio
floats across the fields.

The sisters, with unfailing courage and sweet forgiveness, dance in a
wild, final celebration of their way of life before it changes

Outstanding Actress Drama Desk-nominee for Irish Repertory’s
production of John B. Keane’s THE FIELD), Kevin Collins (THE YEATS
PROJECT), Michael Countryman (MARY STUART, Drama Desk-nominee for THE
COMMON PURSUIT), Annabel Hägg, Jo Kinsella, Aedín Moloney (HOBSON’S
SWEENEY, CANDIDA), and Rachel Pickup.

132 W. 22nd St.
Price $55-65

A Child’s Christmas in Wales, In Concert

Adapted and Directed by Charlotte Moore.

Musical Direction by John Bell.

DEC. 7 –  31 ONLY!

Ensemble includes Edwin Cahill, Howard McGillin (“Phantom of the Opera”),
Danielle Erin Rhodes, Ashley Robinson, and Beverly Ward

Limited Run! Performances December 7-31 Only!

A thousand starry lights will envelop the stage in The Irish Repertory
Theatre’s re-invention of Dylan Thomas’s A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES
in concert – set to begin Off-Broadway previews December 7 in the
company’s W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre, prior to its official press
opening December 11 at The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd
Street). Charlotte Moore, who helms the company’s current production
of Brian Friel’s DANCING AT LUGHNASA, directs. Musical Direction is by
John Bell.

A holiday favorite, the iconic piece features both traditional and
contemporary Christmas music interwoven within the classic story of
the legendary snowy Christmas Day in Wales.

Ensemble for A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES  includes Edwin Cahill
(LOVEMUSIK); Howard McGillin (Tony-nominee for ANYTHING GOES and THE
MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD; Broadway’s longest-running Phantom in PHANTOM
Ashley Robinson (Irish Repertory’s MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS); and Beverly
Ward (CRAZY FOR YOU National Tour, Helen Hayes Award nominee).

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES  features costume design by David Toser
and lighting design by Michael O’Connor. Production Stage Manager is
April A. Kline.

Welsh author Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, a seacoast town in
southern Wales, on October 27, 1914. After dropping out of school at
sixteen, he worked as a junior reporter at the South Wales Evening
Post. In addition to poetry, Thomas wrote short stories, radio plays,
and film scripts. He is best known for the radio play UNDER MILK WOOD
and the poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” composed in
1951, in honor of his dying father. Throughout his career, Thomas
conducted a renowned series of reading tours of the United States.
During his fourth American lecture tour, and a few days after his
thirty-ninth birthday, he collapsed in his New York hotel. Thomas died
on November 9, 1953, at St. Vincent’s Hospital. His body was returned
to Wales, where a simple wooden cross marks his grave.

132 W. 22nd St.
Price $55-65
Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.