Friel's Faith Healer Opens Limited-Run Broadway Engagement

News   Friel's Faith Healer Opens Limited-Run Broadway Engagement
 
The new Broadway revival of Brian Friel's Faith Healer, starring Cherry Jones, Ralph Fiennes and Ian McDiarmid, opens at the Booth Theatre May 4 after previews from April 18.
Ralph Fiennes in Faith Healer.
Ralph Fiennes in Faith Healer. Photo by Joan Marcus

The production began at Dublin's Gate Theatre on Feb. 2, under the direction of Jonathan Kent. American actress Jones joined the company for this U.S. engagement of the staging. Fiennes and McDiarmid are appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association.

The production is in the midst of a limited 15-week Broadway engagement to July 30.

The two-act, three-character Faith Healer, comprised of four monologues, centers on Frank Hardy (Fiennes), a supposed traveling faith healer, his long-suffering spouse (Jones) and loyal manager (McDiarmid).

"They travel the back roads of Scotland and Wales peddling miracles," according to production notes. "As the three wrestle with Hardy's genuine but elusive gift for healing, they ask potent questions about who we trust, what we know and why we believe."

The play opens and closes with monologues featuring Frank. Fiennes — his name, as most of the world knows, is pronounced "Rafe Fines" — is known to American audiences for his film roles in "Schindler's List," "The English Patient," "Red Dragon," "The End of the Affair" and "Quiz Show." The English actor has amassed a number of stage credits in his native country including Brand, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Fathers and Sons, King John, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Playing with Trains, The Talking Cure and the Almeida Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet, which transferred to Broadway and earned him a Tony Award.

Jones earned her second Tony Award for her turn in Doubt, adding to her previous win for The Heiress. Her numerous stage credits include Imaginary Friends, Major Barbara, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Our Country's Good, Angels in America, Flesh and Blood, Pride's Crossing, The Baltimore Waltz, Night of the Iguana, The Good Person of Setzuan and 25 productions as a company member of the American Repertory Theatre including Three Sisters, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Lysistrata.

McDiarmid — widely recognized for his turn as Palpatine in the "Star Wars" films — is a stage veteran. The one-time joint artistic director of London's Almeida Theatre (with Jonathan Kent) has performed in Ivanov, Tartuffe, School For Wives, Creditors, and Kurt Weill Concerts at the Almeida as well as Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, The Party, The War Plays, Crimes In Hot Countries, The Castle, Danton , Hated Nightfall, Love of a Good Man, Raft of the Medusa, Edward II, The Country Wife, The Black Prince, Peer Gynt and Mephisto.

The Northern Ireland-born Friel has also penned The Enemy Within, Philadelphia, Here I Come!, The Loves of Cass McGuire, Lovers, Crystal and Fox, The Mundy Scheme, The Gentle Island, The Freedom of the City, Volunteers, Living Quarters, Aristocrats, Translations, The Communication Cord, Making History, Dancing at Lughnasa, The London Vertigo, Wonderful Tennessee, Molly Sweeney and Give Me Your Answer, Do! His Dancing at Lughnasa won three 1992 Tony Awards including Best Play.

The production is produced by Michael Colgan & Sonia Friedman Productions, The Shubert Organization, Robert Bartner, Roger Berlind, Scott Rudin, and Spring Sirkin.

This new production has set and costume design by Jonathan Fensom, lighting design by Mark Henderson, sound design by Christopher Cronin, video design by Sven Ortel. Jan Grey is the production stage manager. Associate producer is Lauren Doll.

The standbys are Patrick Boll (Frank), Jarlath Conroy (Teddy) and Robin Moseley (Grace).

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The original Broadway production of Faith Healer ran for only seven previews and 20 performances in 1979. It starred James Mason, Donal Donelly and Clarissa Kaye. Jose Quintero directed. Since then, the play has come to be regarded as one of Friel's best.

From Left: Cherry Jones and Ian McDiarmid in <i>Faith Healer</i>.
From Left: Cherry Jones and Ian McDiarmid in Faith Healer. Photo by Joan Marcus
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