McDonagh's Bloody Comedy, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Opens on Broadway

News   McDonagh's Bloody Comedy, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Opens on Broadway Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore, the bloody, comic satire of terrorism's monomaniacal — or just plain stupid — participants, opens at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre May 3 after a lauded run Off-Broadway.

From Left: Domhnall Gleeson and Peter Gerety in The Lieutenant of Inishmore.
From Left: Domhnall Gleeson and Peter Gerety in The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Photo by Monique Carboni

The sold-out Atlantic Theater Company production of the U.S. premiere of The Lieutenant of Inishmore ended April 9. Its Broadway previews began April 19.

The original Atlantic cast was a mix of U.K. and U.S. actors, and all but one moved to Broadway. Kerry Condon left the Off-Broadway run April 2 to return to shooting the TV series "Rome." Alison Pill replaced her in the role of a hot-headed young woman whose passion for all things Irish matches the fervor of the terrorist title character. She falls for him.

McDonagh's Olivier Award-winning play is wickedly funny satire of terrorism and violent personalities. Critics ate the show up in London and New York, and audiences screamed with horror/pleasure at the blood and gore that is such an important part of the experience. (It may not be your great Aunt Mabel's cup of tea.)

"Set on a lonely island, this most surprising new work chronicles the shockingly funny events that come to pass when someone kills Wee Thomas, the beloved cat of an Irish Liberation Army enforcer," according to the producers. "It all builds to a stunning surprise that has audiences laughing in disbelief at every performance."

The producers are asking audiences to keep the play's ending a secret. Why ruin a bloody good time for future audiences?On May 1, the production received two Lucille Lortel Awards: Outstanding Play and Outstanding Lead Actor for David Wilmot, who tied with Christopher Denham for his performance in Red Light Winter. The Atlantic Theater Company also received a special award for Outstanding Body of Work.

The production has also been nominated for four Outer Critics Circle Awards: Outstanding Play, Outstanding Direction of a Play (Wilson Milam), Outstanding Actor in a Play (David Wilmot) and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Peter Gerety); and received a Drama League nomination for Distinguished Production of a Play. Additionally, the Drama League has honored cast members Domhnall Gleeson and David Wilmot for their distinguished performances.

It was also nominated for a 2006 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.

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This new 2006 production emerges in the U.S. after an earlier U.K. staging (helmed by the same director, Wilson Milam) won London's Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and was nominated for the 2002 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Play. This production just received four Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Direction (Wilson Milam), Outstanding Actor (David Wilmot) and Outstanding Featured Actor (Domhnall Gleeson).

Scott Pask's scenic design, which includes a shabby country house and black, craggy, coastal Irish rocks that serve as a neutral playing area, was expanded slightly for the Broadway move.

In addition to Alison Pill, the production features Jeff Binder as James, Andrew Connolly as Christy, Dashiell Eaves as Joey, Peter Gerety as Donny, Domhnall Gleeson as Davey, Brian d'Arcy James as Brendan, and David Wilmot as the title character, Padraic. Domhnall Gleeson and David Wilmot are appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and U.K. Equity.

Wilson Milam directs, recreating work he did for the original production for Royal Shakespeare Company and the West End. For the record, The Lieutenant of Inishmore was first performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, April 11, 2001-Oct. 12, 2001. The production then transferred to the Barbican Pit in London Dec. 20, 2001-Feb. 23, 2002, and moved to the Garrick Theatre in London's West End June 21–Nov. 2, 2002.

The play is part of McDonagh's trilogy of Aran Island plays, which also includes The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Banshees of Inisheer.

The design team includes scenic designer Scott Pask (The Pillowman, Sweet Charity), costume designer Theresa Squire (Orson's Shadow, Atlantic's Bald Soprano and The Lesson), lighting designer Michael Chybowski (Wit, A Skull in Connemara), sound designer Obadiah Eaves (Atlantic's Celebration and The Room). Fight direction is by J. David Brimmer. James Harker is the stage manager. Pat McCorkle handled casting.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is presented by Randall L. Wreghitt, Dede Harris, Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, Artistic Director, Andrew D. Hamingson, Managing Director), David Lehrer, Harriet Newman Leve & Ron Nicynski, the Zavelson Meyrelles Greiner Group, Mort Swinsky & Redfern Goldman Productions and Ruth Hendel.

The Lyceum Theatre is at 149 W. 45th Street.

The Broadway performance schedule will be Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, and Sunday at 3 PM.

There will be no performance Thursday May 4.

Tickets available by phone at (212) 239-6200 and online through Telecharge.com, or in person at the Lyceum Theatre box office.

Tickets are $46.25, $71.25 and $91.25 for all performances except Wednesday matinees ($36.25, $71.25, and $81.25). All prices include a $1.25 facility fee.

For more information, visit www.lieutenantofinishmore.com.

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Lieutenant will likely be a contender in the 2006 Tony Award race for Best Play. McDonagh has thrice been nominated for a Best Play Tony Award (for Beauty Queen, The Lonesome West and The Pillowman), but has never won the prize. The playwright recently announced that, for the time being, he has no plans to write any more plays. He won an 2006 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for "Six Shooter."

From Left: David Wilmot and Alison Pill in <i>The Lieutenant of Inishmore</i>.
From Left: David Wilmot and Alison Pill in The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Photo by Monique Carboni