Irish Repertory Theatre's limited engagement of Sebastian Barry's Our Lady of Sligo opens April 20. Co-produced by Irish Rep in association with the Royal National Theatre and Stafford Clark's seven-year-old group, Out of Joint Productions, the show began previews April 12 and will run through June 4.
Sligo's run ends just one day prior to Irish Rep's annual fundraising benefit scheduled for June 5.
Two key players from director Max Stafford-Clark's award-winning Royal National Theatre production of Our Lady of Sligo will be joining the New York run of the play -- Sinead Cusack and Andrea Irvine. "We've managed to bring over some of the key cast members including Cusack, who won the Olivier Award," said Irish Rep's artistic director Charlotte Moore said. Also featured in the cast are Jarlath Conroy, Melinda Page Hamilton, Sinead Colreavy and Tom Lancy.
Sinead Cusack told Playbill On-Line that she is delighted to be able to be in New York during the spring and that she considers her part on Sligo "the most challenging role of my career."
Sinéad Cusack's recent work includes Our Lady Of Sligo , The Tower (Almeida Theatre), The Faith Healer (Royal Court); Map of the Heart (Globe Theatre); Three Sisters (Gate Theatre, Dublin/Royal Court); Aristocrats (Hampstead Theatre); Cyrano de Bergerac (RSC/Broadway); Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Peer Gynt, The Custom of the Country, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, The Maid's Tragedy, As You Like It, Measure for Measure, Children of the Sun, Wild Oats (RSC); Arms and the Man (Oxford Festival) and Othello (Ludlow Festival). As reported earlier, director Stafford-Clark helmed the Royal National run and will be directing this New York engagement as well.
Playwright Sebastian Barry's (The Steward of Christendom, Prayers of Sherkin) family history inspired his story about that class of Irish people whose realizations of independence and self-rule often fell short of their expectations. Sligo won the 1997 Peggy Ramsay Award.
"Sebastian Barry has rewritten it a bit," Moore told Playbill On-Line. "They had done away with one character in the first Out of Joint production, but Sebastian wanted it in, so we're putting it back.
The production team for the show includes Irish Rep producing director Ciaran O'Reilly, scenic and costume designer Julian McGowan and lighting designer Johanna Town.
Playwright Sebastian Barry was educated at Catholic University School and Trinity College, Dublin. His theatre works include Boss Grady's Boys (Peacock Theatre, Abbey Theatre, Dublin), which later toured Ireland and received the BBC Stewart Parker Award in 1989. In 1990, he was Ansbacher Writer-in-Association at the Abbey Theatre where Prayers of Sherkin was produced in the same year, and was nominated for a Bank of Ireland/Arts Show Award. Barry's White Woman Street was staged at the Bush Theatre, London in 1992 and toured to the Peacock Theatre. The Only True History of Lizzie Finn was premiered in the Abbey in 1995 for the Dublin Theatre Festival. His next play, The Steward of Christendom, received a Writers' Guild Award, a Critics Circle Award and was nominated for an Olivier Award.
Director Max Stafford-Clark founded the Joint Stock Theatre Group in 1974 following his artistic directorship of The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. From 1979 to 1993 he was artistic director of The Royal Court Theatre. In 1993, he founded Out of Joint with Sonia Friedman. As a director, Stafford-Clark has commissioned and directed first productions of many of London's leading writers. The plays he has directed include Fanshen, The Speakers, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire and Cloud Nine, all for Joint Stock; as well as The Arbor, Top Girls, Ratin the Skull, Our Country's Good and My Heart's a Suitcase, for the Royal Court.
Tickets for Our Lady of Sligo range $30-$35 through April 23 and then run $35-$40 (April 25 - June 4). The Irish Rep is located at 132 West 22nd Street in New York City. For information and tickets call (212) 727 2737.
-- By Murdoch McBride