Leenane's Atlantic a Hit; B'way Next?

News   Leenane's Atlantic a Hit; B'way Next?
All four members of the original Irish production of The Beauty Queen Of Leenane crossed the Atlantic to be in the Atlantic. They appear in Martin McDonagh's drama at NY's Atlantic Theatre, which opened Feb. 26, to strong reviews.
Anna Manahan in Beauty Queen
Anna Manahan in Beauty Queen Photo by Photo by Amelia Stein

All four members of the original Irish production of The Beauty Queen Of Leenane crossed the Atlantic to be in the Atlantic. They appear in Martin McDonagh's drama at NY's Atlantic Theatre, which opened Feb. 26, to strong reviews.

So strong, in fact, that last week the Daily News and InTheater's website were speculating that the show is targeting the Richard Rodgers Theatre (late of Side Show) after its Off-Broadway run concludes April 19. Even more recently, InTheater has been hearing that Wait Until Dark may switch from from the Brooks Atkinson to the Richard Rodgers so that Leenane can go into the Atkinson. Also eyed is the Walter Kerr Theatre, though Forever Tango spokesperson Stephen Pitalo (of Boneau/Bryan-Brown) told Playbill On-Line (March 3) that show has no intentions of closing.

Asked about the potential musical chairs, Leenane spokesperson Andy Shearer confirmed that the show "is doing great" at the Atlantic, but told Playbill On-Line (March 3), "There are no plans for anything after April 19." Dark spokesperson James Morrison said (March 3) the Knott play was "definitely going into the Atkinson" and any rumors otherwise were "totally false. We're at the Atkinson and we're rockin'!"


For the NY Leenane, original director Garry Hynes joins Marie Mullen, Anna Manahan, Brian F. O'Byrne and Tom Murphy. Hynes founded Ireland's Druid Theatre Company in 1975, the company that premiered McDonagh's play in Galway in 1996. The production later moved to the UK's Royal Court, which co-produced. A dark comedy, Leenane tells of a lonely middle-aged woman and her manipulative mother, who hinders her daughter's last chance for a romantic relationship.

McDonagh's first play, Beauty Queen became the first work in his "Leenane Trilogy." The timing of the Atlantic mounting couldn't be more opportune, as the Public Theatre will stage another McDonagh play, The Cripple of Inishmaan, April 7. Other works include A Skull In Connemara and The Lonesome West (both part of the "Leenane" trilogy) and The Lieutenant Of Inishmore.

The original designers for Beauty Queen -- Francis O'Connor (sets), Ben Ormerod (lighting) -- will return for this production, as will composer Paddy Cunneen.

For tickets and information on The Beauty Queen Of Leenane at the Atlantic Theatre, 336 West 20th St., call (212) 645-1242.


For McDonagh fans, here's the info on Inishmaan at the Public:
The Cripple of Inishmaan begins at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre March 17 and opens there April 7 for a run through April 19. Jerry Zaks (A Funny Thing...Forum), who recently lent his services to The Capeman, will direct. Nicholas Hytner (Carousel, The Madness Of King George) was originally scheduled to direct as he did in London, but han't yet finished shooting the Wendy Wasserstein-scripted film, The Object Of My Affection and now must concentrate on editing/post-production (not to mention the upcoming Chicago film).

Only one cast-member from the London production will be in the U.S. staging: Ruaidhri Conroy. Co-starring with him at the Public will be Eileen Brennan, Donal Donnelly, Christopher Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Franz (Jitta's Atonement at the Berkshire Festival), Michael Gaston, Peter Maloney, Roberta Maxwell (1996's Summer and Smoke at the Roundabout) and Aisling O'Neill.

Designing the show are Brian Nason (lighting), Tony Walton (set), Ann Roth (costumes), Sage Marie Carter (projections) and Guy Sherman (sound).

Inishmaan concerns the gossiping and infighting of a town so small, a sheep born with no ears constitutes big news. When legendary Hollywood documentary director Robert Flaherty arrives to film his Man Of Aran, the whole town wants to get into the act, none more than 18 year-old "Cripple Billy," who sees the production as his ticket out of Inishmaan.

In the UK, Martin McDonagh's bawdy dark comedy, The Cripple of Inishmaan, transferred (April 30) from the Cottesloe to the larger Lyttleton Theatre for a run through Aug. 31.

Starring in the London Inishmaan were Conroy, Doreen Hepburn, Gary Lydon, Ray McBride, Dearbhla Molloy, Aisling O'Sullivan (Hysteria at the Royal Court), Anita Reeves, John Rogan and Owen Sharpe. Designers for the show were Bob Crowley (set), Mark Henderson (lighting), and Paddy Cunneen (music).

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