Irish Rep's Mr. Dooley's America, a Pulse-Taking of Yesteryear, Begins Aug. 10 in NYC

News   Irish Rep's Mr. Dooley's America, a Pulse-Taking of Yesteryear, Begins Aug. 10 in NYC Philip Dunne and Martin Blaine's Mr. Dooley's America, based on the newspaper articles of Finley Peter Dunne, begins previews Aug. 10 under the direction of Charlotte Moore at Irish Repertory Theatre in Manhattan.

Opening is Aug. 16, and performances continue to Sept. 10.

"At the turn of the last century, the newspaper column of Peter Finley Dunne — written as the fictional Irish Pub owner, Mr. Dooley — was a national sensation. Appearing in almost every major newspaper, Mr. Dooley's 'everyman' take on political and social issues of the day, spiced with his sly humor and political acumen, made Dunne — or rather, Dooley — a household name. His syndicated sayings were read aloud at cabinet meetings of three presidents, as well as at millions of breakfast tables."

In Mr. Dooley's America, "we visit Dooley in his tavern as he espouses the same wit and wisdom that rings as true today as it did 100 years ago," according to Irish Rep. "And joining Dooley for a drink and a bit of debate is the character of Peter Finley Dunne himself."

The adaptation, borrowing from the "Mr. Dooley" articles, stars former Abbey Theatre artistic director Vincent Dowling and Irish stage star Des Keogh.

* Philip Dunne (son of the columnist Peter Finley Dunne) was born in 1908 in New York City. After leaving Harvard University for a brief stint on Wall Street, he headed to Hollywood in 1930 where he became a screenwriter and later a director and producer. His many screen credits include "How Green Was My Valley," "The Count of Monte Cristo," "The Last of the Mohicans," "Stanley and Livingston," "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," "The Luck of the Irish," "Pinky," "Prince of Players," "Ten North Frederick" and "Blue Denim." During World War II he served as chief of motion picture production for the Office of War information. Dunne was instrumental in founding the Writers' Guild, and, with directors William Wyler and John Huston, founded the Committee for the First Amendment to oppose the Hollywood blacklist. He received the Writers' Guild's two highest honors, the Laurel Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Valentine Davies Award for Public Service, and is the first screenwriter to be honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. In addition to his work in film and politics, he published two books: his highly acclaimed memoirs, "Take Two, a Life in Movies and Politics," and "Mr. Dooley Remembers, the informal memoirs of Finley Peter Dunne."

Philip Dunne died in 1992, at his home in Malibu, California, where he and his wife, former actress Amanda Duff, raised their three daughters.

Respected actor Martin Blaine enjoyed a long career that began on Broadway, where he appeared in Summer Nights and The Man Who Killed Lincoln. In Hollywood, he appeared in "The Fortune Cookie," "Hogan's Heros" and "Bonanza." Blaine teamed up with Philip Dunne to bring a stage actor's perspective to Mr. Dooley's America, and was working on the production when he was killed in an automobile accident in 1989.

Actor Vincent Dowling's relationship with Mr. Dooley's America goes back to 1976 when he played the Irish bar-keep under the watchful eye of Philip Dunne.

Des Keogh appeared at the Irish Rep in the world premiere of A Love Hungry Farmer, which he since performed internationally to great acclaim. He won the Edinburgh Theatre Festival Award for Best Actor, and co-starred with Anna Manahan in the sell-out run of The Matchmaker (not the Thornton Wilder play), which was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award.

Charlotte Moore, director, is co-founder (with Ciarán O'Reilly) and artistic director of The Irish Repertory Theatre. She most recently directed Mrs. Warren's Profession starring Dana Ivey, and the world premiere adaptation of Beowulf.

Mr. Dooley's America designers are Charlie Corcoran (set), David Toser (costumes), Renee Molina (lighting). Elis C. Arroyo is production stage manager.

Performances of Mr. Dooley's America are Tuesday–Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 PM. Tickets are $55 and $50 and can be purchased by calling The Irish Repertory Theatre box office at (212) 727-2737. For more information, visit www.irishrep.org.