Riverside Stage Company's world premiere of Carrin Beginning, about a group of misfit patrons in an Irish pub, ends an extended run Jan. 9 at The Chelsea Playhouse in Manhattan.
W. August Schulenberg's play, set in Mullin's Pub and Inn, in 1927 Donegal, concerns the patrons' brush with Turlough O'Lochlainn, "the last of the great bards of Ireland," who changes their lives forever. Performances began Dec. 1. It was expected to close Dec. 19, but audience interest prompted a Dec. 27-Jan. 9 continuation.
Riverside artistic director Brian Feehan directs and Australian actress Katrina Ferguson takes the title role in troupe's season-closer. The cast also includes Norman Allen, Dawn Denvir, Stephen Guarino, Mary Jo McConnell, G.W. Reed and Cara Stoner. Kevin Kraft replaces Liam Christopher O'Brien for the post-holiday extension.
The haunting drama, which has been likened to a period, Irish "Big Chill," features Norman Allen as the fictional limerick songwriter-singer, Turlough, and Ferguson is Carrin, the pugilistic bull of a woman who is moved by the poet's philosophy. Carrin is pronounced "Coor-IN." Designers are Jennifer Collins (set), Mira Goldberg (costumes) and Rick Belzer (lighting). Mary Beth Griffith is the choreographer.
The twentysomething playwright Schulenberg recently directed his play, Night and the Maiden, in Philadelphia and his Sleeping Beauty at Allentown College (his alma mater).
Riverside is devoted to developing and premiering new American plays.
The Chelsea Playhouse is at 125 W. 22nd St. Tickets are $32.50. Call (212) 279-4200 or the Chelsea box office at (212) 924 6185.
-- By Kenneth Jones