Now that Off-Broadway's Irish Repertory Theatre has finished showing us once more how the Irish got that way, they're getting a rare opportunity to show the other side of the coin, when John Murphy's The Country Boy opens March 1. Previews begin Feb. 22 for a run through April 2.
In a kind of reverse of Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come! and Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes," wherein young men end up leaving their impoverished Irish homes for the wilds of America, Murphy's drama tells of a man who's spent the past 15 years in America and now returns to his native land. Set in County Mayo 1959, The Country Boy finds Eddie, securely employed and happily married, visiting his family on holiday. According to a press spokesperson, the play speculates on whether Eddie proves out the American dream -- or whether he's lost something crucial in his years away from home.
Starring in The Country Boy are Ciaran O'Reilly as Eddie (The Irish...and How They Got That Way), James A. Stephens, Dara Coleman, Valorie Hubbard, Aideen O'Kelly and Heather O'Neill. Company artistic director Charlotte Moore stages the drama, which features sets by David Raphel, costumes by David Toser and lighting by Gregory Cohen.
Irish Rep's last show was a return visit for the revue, The Irish...and How They Got That Way, which has turned into an audience favorite both in New York and at various regional venues.
Tickets to The Country Boy run $30-$35. Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd St. For information, call (212) 727-2737. -- By David Lefkowitz