Doug Hughes helms the new staging of the O'Neill work to begin Nov. 11 and open Dec. 8 at Studio 54 for a limited run through Jan. 29, 2006. Tickets to A Tough of the Poet are also currently available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300 or online at www.roundabouttheatre.org.
Byrne — who will play Cornelius Melody in the work — will be joined by Dearbhla Molloy (Juno and the Paycock), Emily Bergl (The Rivals, Fiction), John Horton (Noises Off), Byron Jennings (The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Foreigner), Kathryn Meisle (Tartuffe, The Constant Wife), Randall Newsome (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter), Ciaran O'Reilly (The Irish and How They Got That Way) and Daniel Stewart Sherman (Henry IV, The Full Monty).
Set in 1828 near Boston, A Touch of the Poet finds an Irish immigrant who thinks himself a distinguished gentleman though evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. The down-on-his-luck man, who is now a tavern owner, finds himself in a quandary when his daughter falls for the son of a wealthy American.
Byrne earned a Tony Award nomination for his previous Broadway turn as James Tyrone, Jr. in the 2000 revival of O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten opposite Cherry Jones and Roy Dotrice. The actor also appeared Off-Broadway in The Exonerated but is perhaps best known for his work in such films as "Point of No Return," "Little Women," "The Usual Suspects," "Polish Wedding" and recently in "Vanity Fair" and "Assault on Precinct 13."
The design team for A Touch of the Poet features Santo Loquasto (sets and costumes), Chris Akerlind (lights) and David Van Tieghem (sound and original composition). Hughes — who was honored with the 2005 Tony Award for his direction of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt — recently staged the Roundabout's Off-Broadway show, Jon Robin Baitz's The Paris Letter as well as the Laura Pels Theatre's previous tenant, Stephen Belber's McReele. The director of last year's Frozen also currently reteams with the non-profit on its Broadway premiere of Richard Greenberg's A Naked Girl on the Appian Way. Other projects on the busy director's schedule include Greenberg's The House in Town, Shanley's Defiance and the new musical Ever After.