Ahrens and Flaherty's A Man of No Importance to Transfer to West End's Arts Theatre

News   Ahrens and Flaherty's A Man of No Importance to Transfer to West End's Arts Theatre The Union Theatre's sell-out 2009 London premiere production of Ahrens and Flaherty's 2002 Off-Broadway musical A Man of No Importance is to transfer to the West End's Arts Theatre, beginning performances Feb. 9, prior to an official opening Feb. 10, for a run through Feb. 27.
Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens
Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Paul Clarkson will reprise his performance as Dublin bus conductor Alfie Byrne in Ben De Wynter's production, which has choreography by Phyllida Crowley-Smith, musical direction by Christopher Peake and is designed by James Turner. It is produced by Regan De Wynter.

Clarkson won the 1984 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in Howard Goodall's The Hired Man, and also subsequently originated the role of Harry Bright in the original London production of Mamma Mia! in 1999.

The musical, which features a book by Terrence McNally (who previously collaborated with Ahrens and Flaherty on Ragtime, and also contributed the books to the Kander and Ebb musicals The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman), is based on a 1994 independent film of the same title that starred Albert Finney. It originally premiered at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in September 2002, running to December, with a cast that featured Roger Rees as Alfie Byrne and also included Faith Prince and Steven Pasquale. A cast album was released.

In press materials, it is described as a chamber musical about the power the theatre has to transform our lives and the capacity each of us has to love one another. Alfie Byrne (Clarkson) is a bus conductor who is prone to reciting poetry to the patrons on his bus. He is also the director of the local community theatre, which operates out of a small parish hall in the neighborhood church. Alfie's passengers are also his performers: amateur thespians that come to see the magic the theatre offers through Alfie's eyes. They inhabit the world of working-class Dublin in the 1960s, a world where the budding sexual freedom happening in other places is barely whispered about.

The cast also features Róisín Sullivan, Anthony Cable, Dieter Thomas, Paul Monaghan, Jamie Honeybourne, A.J. O'Neill, Joanna Nevin, Ruth Berkeley, Kimberly Ensor, Emily Juler, Nicola Redman, Niall Sheehy, Daniel Maguire, Patrick Joseph Kelliher, Barra Collins and Adam Davenport. To book tickets, contact the box office on 0845 017 5584.

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