Moving chronologically from George Bernard Shaw's arrival in London at age 19 through his flirtations with millionairess Charlotte Payne Townshend and actress Ellen Terry, My Astonishing Self will serve as a solo showcase for actor Donal Donnelly, opening Jan. 23 at Off Broadway's Irish Repertory Theatre.
Drawn from Shaw's letters, plays, diaries and speeches, Michael Voysey's drama world-premiered at Dublin's Gate Theatre, where Donnelly began his career. The Abbey, the Library Of Congress and London's Churchill Theatres have hosted subsequent mountings of the show. Lighting for the NY production is by Gregory Cohen.
Donnelly was nominated for a Tony in 1966 for starring in Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come!, and he's since appeared in Charles Marowitz's Sherlock's Last Case and Friel's Dancing At Lughnasa.
Plays by G.B. Shaw include Pygmalion, Arms And The Man, Man And Superman, Major Barbara and Widowers' Houses.
The Irish Repertory Theatre was founded by Ciaran O'Reilly in 1988 and most recently staged a Tony Walton-directed Importance Of Being Earnest. The 80 member company received a special Drama Desk Award for "excellence in presenting distinguished Irish drama." Their next project will be readings of W.B. Yeats' entire canon of plays, running Jan. 30-Feb. 16. For tickets ($25) and information on My Astonishing Self at the Irish Repertory Theatre on West 22nd St., at least through Feb. 23, call (212) 727-2737.
--By David Lefkowitz