Fáilte! Welcome to our second edition of “Notes from the Green Room,” Irish Rep’s member newsletter. This quarterly update takes you behind the curtain at the Rep and reveals all the goings-on here at the theatre, both on and offstage. Thank you very much for being a member. We couldn’t do any of this without you!
ON STAGE AT THE REP
THE HOME PLACE
By Brian Friel, directed by Charlotte Moore
(New York Premiere) *Winner of the London Evening Standard Award for Best Play*
September 27 through November 19
Set in the mythical village of Ballybeg, Dr. Richard Gore pursues a Darwin-inspired scientific theory by measuring the craniums of the indigenous Irish, hoping to crack the genetic code of the indigenes and demonstrate their inferior place in the natural order. Taking place during the rumblings of violence and uncertainty at the dawn of the Home Rule movement, Friel explores the aftermath of Dr. Gore’s experiment as deep animosity is dangerously ignited amongst the suspicious villagers of Ballybeg. Read the full synopsis.
Brian Friel and the Rep: In our twenty-nine year history, the Irish Rep has produced eight of Brian Friel’s plays, including the American Premiere of Making History, the New York premiere of Afterplay, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, and Aristocrats. And as a friend and member of our Advisory Council, the late playwright (who passed away in 2015) was an integral part of our organization’s history. The Home Place was Friel’s final play, and through this production, we honor his memory by bringing his profound work to life for the first time in New York City.
“His mother’s home, the small market town of Glenties in southern Donegal, across the border from Derry, was the origin of Ballybeg (in Irish meaning, literally, small town), the location of almost all his plays… Friel’s international status was founded on the profoundly local: the universal resonance of Ballybeg, which projected him as “the Irish Chekhov,” emphasizing his extraordinary affinity with the Russian playwright. Friel addressed themes such as language and meaning, faith and authority, through the medium of the family and its search for the elusive quality of home.” – Brian Friel’s Obituary
Who’s in the Show?
Logan Riley Bruner (Tommy Boyle), Andrea Lynn Green (Sally Cavanagh), Johnny Hopkins (Con Doherty), Robert Langdon Lloyd (Clement O’Donnell), Ed Malone (David Gore), Polly McKie (Mary Sweeney), Rachel Pickup (Margaret O’Donnell), Stephen Pilkington (Perkins), Christopher Randolph (Dr. Richard Gore), Gordon Tashjian (Johnny MacLoone), John Windsor-Cunningham (Christopher Gore). Learn more about the cast and crew by clicking this link.
OFF THE METER, ON THE RECORD
Driving New York City Crazy for 35 Years
Written and performed by John McDonagh, directed by Ciaran O’Reilly
October 6 through November 5
A comedic glimpse into 35 years behind the wheel of a New York City yellow taxi, Off The Meter is a pithy social commentary from New York’s most recognizable cab driver about life spent behind the wheel. John McDonagh, veteran radio host, has condensed thirty-plus years of activism, reality show antics and observation into a love song to the city that never sleeps.
A note from the director: “I was drawn to the material because it is quintessential New York stuff. He’s a passionate man with a story to tell. Where else will you hear the stories of our time with more immediacy than from a man who has driven through that history?” – Ciaran O’Reilly
About John McDonagh: John McDonagh is a playwright, cab driver, comic and political activist. Off The Meter represents the culmination of a thirty-five year career of driving a yellow cab while trying to make a difference in the world. John began his career as a NYC Yellow cab driver after serving in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Vietnam War. He has been writing and performing at Caroline’s, the Comic Strip, the Huntington Cinema Arts Center, NY Society for Ethical Culture, and Rocky Sullivan’s pub among others. John is an active member of Irish American Writers and Artists.
WHAT DAVID LUTKEN “SEZ” ON WOODY
Woody Sez, which first opened at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2007, took the Irish Rep by storm this summer. Now that this toe-tapping, biographical musical has come to a close, we turn to star and co-creator of the show, David M. Lutken, to learn more about his connection to Woody Guthrie and the production.
Lutken, who studied in London at the Royal School of Church Music, the Royal College of Music, and the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts, says it was while in England that his interest in Guthrie started to grow:
“When I was in acting school in England, I discovered that all these songs I had already known… I didn’t really get the importance. All these other people knew these songs, and it made me get interested in where the songs came from, in taking the book of music history and turning the pages back, and back, and back. I was fascinated because it was really quite clear that there are things about America that people in other countries like or don’t like, but one of the things they really love is American folk music.”
In addition to the four wildly talented actor-musicians, there’s another star of the show—Lutken’s guitar. The main guitar that he plays during the show is nothing short of a time capsule and has its own special story attached to it:
“The guitar, it doesn’t have a name but it’s really remarkable to me. It’s a Martin guitar. Woody was most famous for playing a Gibson guitar but he played all kinds. I got mine in Colorado. I had a friend out there and I was flush with money from playing ski resorts and stuff like that. I bought the guitar brand new in 1983. It’s what’s called an M-38—the letter stands for shape of the body, and the number stands for the number of pieces of inlay. They made it for their 150th anniversary. They started in 1833 right here in New York City. I began playing it and I really liked it but I didn’t play it a lot at first, I’d play my other guitars and save this one for special occasions for a long time because I liked it so much.”
We want to thank the cast and creative team of Woody Sez production for such an excellent show. It has been a treat hearing the music echoing through the halls during the week here at the Rep. We’ll miss you, but we’re sure you’re “Bound for Glory.”
JOE O’BYRNE ON SYNGE AND HIS RETURN TO THE REP
In his production of The Aran Islands, director Joe O’Byrne captured the seminal work by Irish playwright John Millington Synge. In an interview with Broadway World, O’Byrne explained the significance of Synge’s work and his hope that the production would reignite the theatre community’s appreciation of this lost play:
“Synge’s work is at the core of modern Irish theatre, and in his short life – he died at the age of 37 of Hodgkin’s lymphoma – he created perfectly formed plays. These works were based on the life that he discovered in the west of Ireland – particularly on the Aran Islands… The Aran Islands is a forgotten book, and hopefully this production will bring the brilliance of the prose and the keen and forensic observation of the life he encountered to the attention of readers once again.”
A GRAND GALA
Irish Rep’s Sondheim at Seven Gala on June 13th, 2017 was a truly a one-of-a-kind evening. Fans and friends packed The Town Hall to see celebrated performers interpreting Sondheim’s best work, and to toast a triumphant season at the Irish Rep! Let these photos help you relive the magic!
ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES:
LAUREN MILLER AND SAMANTHA RINEY
After two and a half wonderful years, we recently said farewell to Individual Giving Manager, Lauren Miller. Lauren has been an invaluable part of the development team and though we are sorry to see her go, we wish her luck on her next career adventure. Thank you for everything, Lauren!
Following in Lauren’s footsteps is Samantha (Sam) Riney. Sam recently graduated from NYU’s Performing Arts Administration Master’s program and is thrilled to be joining the Irish Rep family. Originally from San Francisco, Sam has lived everywhere from Italy, to Nashville, to Kentucky, and is now happily settled here in New York City. She brings her experience at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Lexington Children’s Theatre to the development team. She looks forward to answering your membership questions, informing you about upcoming patron events, and greeting you in the lobby. Feel free to introduce yourself on your next visit!
Saturday, October 14, 2017
First Annual Member Open House
11am – 2pm at Irish Repertory Theatre
Join us before the matinee performances of Brian Friel’s The Home Place (Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage) and John McDonagh’s Off the Meter, On the Record (W. Scott McLucas studio) for a meet and greet with Charlotte and Ciaran, backstage tours, a presentation of upcoming show designs, a raffle drawing, and more. Mingle with the Rep staff as you enjoy some Irish treats and a cup of tea (or an Irish coffee!).
Member Open Houses are a new benefit available to members at the Partner Level and above. To RSVP, become a qualifying member, or for more information about the event, please contact Individual Giving Manager Samantha Riney at 212-255-0270 or Samantha@IrishRep.org.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Reading: Dual Cats with One Crayfish
3pm on the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage
Dual Cats with One Crayfish by Darren Donohue paints a portrait of modern Ireland that is rich in dark humor investigating themes of spirituality, identity and forgiveness. To RSVP, please contact the box office at 212-727-2737.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Patron Night for The Home Place
6pm pre-show reception in the 2nd floor Studio Gallery
7pm performance followed by a talk-back with director Charlotte Moore
Patron Nights are an exclusive benefit for members at the Associate Level and above. Seating is limited. Want to book tickets or become a qualifying member? Please contact Individual Giving Manager Samantha Riney at 212-255-0270 or Samantha@IrishRep.org.
DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT WITH A MATCHING GIFT
Many workplaces offer matching gifts for their employees’ charitable donations, sometimes even after retirement. With a match, you could double your support of Irish Rep, and increase your membership benefits too!
Does your employer match gifts? Please send your Matching Gift form to 132 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011 attn: Samantha Riney, and we will fill out the rest!