on the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage
By Eugene O’Neill
Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly
With Belle Aykroyd, David Beck, Robert Cuccioli, Kate Forbes, Mary McCann, Andy Murray, Emma O’Donnell, James Russell, David Sitler, John C. Vennema, and Rex Young
O’Reilly, splendidly evokes both the period and the universality of the story…Cuccioli simmers, sneers, blusters, and bellows in a masterly tragicomic performance.” — Ken Marks, New Yorker
Proud and tempestuous Cornelius Melody (Con) owns a run-down inn and tavern near Boston in 1828. Laden with debt, Con clings to his tenuous identity as a landed gentleman and war hero and chastises his wife and daughter for actions that expose the family’s humble Irish origins. When his daughter, Sara, falls in love with a wealthy American guest at their inn, Con’s pride drives him to an explosive reckoning with his true place in the New World.
A Touch of the Poet, Eugene O’Neill’s tragic tale about the immigrant experience and generational aspiration, was the first work written for the playwright’s famously unfinished cycle about the Irish in America. Completed in 1942, A Touch of the Poet has received four Broadway productions. It premiered in October of 1958 at the Helen Hayes Theatre, nearly five years after the playwright’s death.
Irish Repertory Theatre planned to present A Touch of the Poet in March 2020, however, the week prior to opening, the theatre temporarily shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to present this production on our mainstage after producing a digital production in October of 2020.
Read the performance program here!
“worth-the-wait revival…Director Ciarán O’Reilly confidently lets the clever cast explore their characters’ profound complexities” — Theaterscene.net
“★★★★ [Robert Cuccioli’s] performance is grand” — David Finkle, NY Stage Review
“the technical production and supporting cast are superb…Kate Forbes gives a luminous, riveting performance which becomes the heart of this revival.” — Talkin’ Broadway
“O’Neill of course bathes us in poetry…Irish Repertory is back in fine form.” — Berkshire Fine Arts
“Wonderful…Cuccioli delivers one of the most memorable performances of the season.” – Asbury Park Press
“a deeply moving play…a godsend to O’Neill fans and for those who simply like a play that wrestles with the Big Questions.” – TheaterScene.com
“exceptionally directed by O’Reilly…Cuccioli’s ferocity is immeasurably touching…Forbes is absolutely untouchable, transcending each moment on stage with stoic frailty and vulnerability, all with a poetic realism that would have filled O’Neill himself with pride.” – The Irish Echo
Press from our digital production:
CRITIC’S PICK “Powerful…a hearty serving of digital theater that nearly matches the real thing…a production with such chemistry and pep that it stands as a reminder of those pre-pandemic theater days of yore.” – The New York Times
“Perfectly cast and staged by Ciarán O’Reilly and brilliantly produced” – Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal
“This production is one that should not be missed… [Robert] Cuccioli plays Con with smoldering resignation until he erupts at the end in a revelatory tour de force.” – TheaterMania