Just six weeks after the hit Off-Broadway opening of his The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan opens April 7 at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre. The show has already extended its closing date from Apr. 19 to May 10.
Jerry Zaks (A Funny Thing...Forum), who recently lent his services to The Capeman, directs. Nicholas Hytner (Carousel, The Madness Of King George) was originally scheduled to direct as he did in London, but he recently finished shooting the Wendy Wasserstein-scripted film, The Object Of My Affection and is concentrating on editing/post-production (not to mention the upcoming Chicago film).
Only one cast-member from the London production is 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).
For tickets to The Cripple of Inishmaan at the Public Theatre through May 10, call (212) 239-6200.
In other McDonagh news, whereas only Ruaidhri Conroy, of the UK cast, appears in the New York Inishmaan, all four members of the original Irish production of The Beauty Queen Of Leenane have crossed the Atlantic to be in the Atlantic. They appear in McDonagh's drama which opened Feb. 26 at NY's Atlantic Theatre, and promptly sold out its entire run. The production moves to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre April 14.
Original director Garry Hynes joins Marie Mullen, Anna Manahan, Brian F. O'Byrne and Tom Murphy. Hynes and Mullen were co-founders of 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," which was capped by The Lonesome West. Other works include A Skull In Connemara 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 information on the Broadway mounting at the Walter Kerr Theatre call (212) 239 6200.