A Man of No Importance, the new musical which reunites the Ragtime crew of composer Stephen Flaherty, lyricist Lynn Ahrens and librettist Terrence McNally, will begin previews at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse on Sept. 12, working toward an opening on Oct. 10.
Roger Rees and Faith Prince lead the cast. They will be supported by the capable likes of Ronn Carroll, Luther Creek, Michael McCormick, Jessica Molaskey, Martin Moran, Sally Murphy, Charles Keating, Barbara Marineau, Sean McCourt, Katherine McGrath, Patti Perkins and Steven Pasquale.
The show is based on the 1994 film of the same name. The movie, set in 1963 Dublin, starred Albert Finney as Alfie Byrne (Rees), a closeted gay bus driver with a passion for Oscar Wilde who still lives with his sister (Prince). The film concerns Alfie's torn passion for two people and his coming to terms with his true nature as he gets involved in a church staging of a Wilde play.
The title is a play on the Wilde work A Woman of No Importance.
The show will have musical staging by Jonathan Butterell, musical direction by Ted Sperling (recently named associate artistic director of Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia), sets by Loy Arcenas, costumes by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Donald Holder and sound by Scott Lehrer. The show received a reading at Lincoln Center Theater in March 2001. Joe Mantello directed and will repeat his duties this fall.
Prince won her Tony for Guys and Dolls a decade ago. After a solo cabaret debut in early 2000 at Joe's Pub and a supporting turn in an Off Broadway revival of The Torchbearers, she returned to Broadway, replacing Blair Brown in James Joyce's The Dead. In early 2001, she headlined a revival of the musical, Bells Are Ringing. The production didn't last, but Prince received a Tony nomination for her work. She returned to Broadway in 2002 for the third season running in Noises Off, using her off-time to participate in a workshop of the new Disney musical When You Wish. A Man of No Importance will be Prince's first original musical credit, in which she originates a role, since 1991's ill-fated Nick and Nora.
Though Rees has many Broadway credits to his name—Indiscretions, The Rehearsal, Uncle Vanya and, most famously, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby—he is not known for his musical theatre work. A native of England, he possesses a range a West End experience as well.
Murphy starred in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Carousel as Julie Jordan. Last season, she acted in Brutal Imagination at Off Broadway's Vineyard Theater. Ronn Carroll starred in Oklahoma! on Broadway. A musical mainstay, his credits include Annie Get Your Gun, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Steel Pier and Crazy For You.
Moran starred opposite Prince in 2001's short-lived mounting of Bells Are Ringing, as well as How to Succeed... and Titanic. Molaskey performed in Dream with her husband, John Pizzarelli, and recently released a disc of '20s and '30s songs, "Pentimento." Creek was a cast member of Rent. McCormick was in Marie Christine. Wardell's credits include James Joyce's The Dead and Throughly Modern Millie.
McCourt starred in Bat Boy and The Castle Off Broadway. Perkins was in The Full Monty and McGrath was seen in The Music Man. Keating won a Tony nomination for Loot, a play he recently acted in again at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Marineau played Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast for two years on Broadway and was in the recent revival of The Women at the Roundabout Theatre Company.
—By Robert Simonson