The musical about an Irishman coming out of the closet in middle age is based on the film of the same name, and has a book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. It was launched Off-Broadway in 2002 by Lincoln Center Theater. A cast album followed, preserving the eclectic score, which boast Ahrens and Flaherty's customary humanity — ballads, up-tempos and charm songs featuring characters yearning for connection (in a repressed atmosphere of religion and '60s morality).
Lezlie Wade directs the Canadian production, featuring Shaw Festival veteran Douglas E. Hughes as Alfie, a Dublin bus conductor who stages amateur theatricals at his Catholic church.
"What happens when our deepest secrets are finally revealed?" ask production notes. "Dublin bus conductor Alfie Byrne is content reading Oscar Wilde poetry to his passengers and staging plays in his local church. But when forced to confront a lifelong secret, Alfie must learn to face his true nature and finally take a stand in the world. With a powerful story and a stunning score by the team who brought Ragtime to the musical stage, A Man of No Importance celebrates the genius of Oscar Wilde, the boisterous streets of Dublin, and the bumps along the road to self-discovery."
Patty Jamieson plays Alfie's unmarried sister Lily. Also featured are Kyle Blair, Ian Deakin, Susan Henley, Bethany Jillard, Gary Krawford, Nora Sheehan, Barrie Wood, Liz Best, Christopher Darroch and Megan Powell.
The creative team includes musical director Reza Jacobs, stage manager Dot Routledge, set designer Robin Fisher, costume designer Alex Amini and lighting designer Gillian Wolpert. Artistic producer Mitchell Marcus presents the show.
Acting Up Stage Theatre Company "is a theatre company in Toronto, dedicated to producing intimate musical theatre productions, while cultivating a new generation of audiences through thought-provoking, contemporary works."
The company previously produced the Canadian premiere of Jonathan Larson's tick, tick…BOOM! in 2005, the Toronto premiere of john & jen in 2006, and last year's critically acclaimed, Dora-nominated production of Elegies: A Song Cycle.
Berkeley Street Upstairs Theatre is located at 26 Berkeley Street. For tickets and information, call (416) 368-3110. Visit www.manofnoimportance.com.