The four-member Irish cast of Martin McDonagh's hit drama, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, will continue their acclaimed visit to New York through Jan. 3, 1999. A special agreement worked out between the producers and Actors Equity Association initially allowed Leenane to keep its Irish cast -- Anna Manahan, Tom Murphy, Marie Mullen (all Tony winners) and Brian F. O'Byrne -- for 26 weeks, starting from its Broadway transfer April 23, 1998. An American cast would have had to replace the performers in mid-October, but according to a Boneau/Bryan Brown spokesperson (reached Oct. 21), the producers and the union have worked out an extension through New Years.
The New York Times now reports (Oct. 23) that the producers have worked out a further deal with Actors' Equity, allowing Anna Manahan to stay through March 1999. Three American actors would step into the other roles in early January, with Kate Burton mentioned as a possibility to replace Mullen. A spokesperson from Boneau/Bryan Brown (reached Oct. 23) could not yet confirm the additional news.
The ironically titled Beauty Queen tells the story of an elderly woman who tries to spoil her homely 40-year-old daughter's first (and possibly last) chance for romance.
Leenane first opened Feb. 26 at the Atlantic Theatre Company, and sold $125,000 worth of tickets the next day, which Atlantic Artistic Director Neil Pepe told Playbill On-Line "may be a record for Off Broadway." He said by noon Feb. 28 the show's entire run, originally scheduled through Apr. 19, was sold out.
"It's one of these unique combinations of a marvelous play a brilliant cast and wonderful direction, coupled with an overwhelming interest from the public." Tickets for the Broadway run at the Walter Kerr Theatre are on sale via Telecharge: (212) 239-6200. Producers for the Broadway mounting are Atlantic Theatre Company, Randall Wreghitt, Chase Mishkin, Steven M. Levy and Leonard Soloway, in association with Julian Schlossberg and Norma Langworthy. Wreghitt, Mishkin, Levy and Soloway were also behind the successful commercial transfer of Drama Dept.'s As Bees in Honey Drown.
McDonagh's other plays include The Cripple Of Inishmaan, which also played Off-Broadway last season. Beauty Queen , directed by Gerry Hynes, was a Tony nominee for best play but was beaten out by the English comedy, Art.