You Read the Epic, Now See the Rock Musical; Beowulf Gets World Premiere by Irish Rep

News   You Read the Epic, Now See the Rock Musical; Beowulf Gets World Premiere by Irish Rep
"Beowulf," the circa eighth-century English verse epic that was the bane of college students the world over, is now a rock musical by "Saturday Night Live" musician Lenny Pickett, getting its world premiere by The Irish Repertory Theatre in Manhattan Oct. 7-Nov. 13.

The musical Beowulf opens Irish Rep's 2005-06 season. Artistic director Charlotte Moore stages the production, written by "Saturday Night Live" musical director Lenny Pickett (composer and lyricist) and Lindsey Turner (lyricist).

The show is billed as "a 21st century ritualistic rock opera."

"Fiery dragons, magic swords and severed heads populate this epic sixth century tale of Beowulf; a fierce and romantic young warrior who arrives on a foreign shore seeking to repay its king for saving his father's life," according to the Irish Rep. "This brave and sometimes foolish young prince hopes to return the favor whilst enhancing his reputation and gaining treasure for his king. But first, the demon, Grendel and his monster-woman mother must be challenged and slaughtered! As Beowulf, mortally wounded is sent out to sea in a flaming funeral pyre, we hear the pure tones of a Celtic harpist relating his legend to the ages."

The original work is thought to be written by a Northumbrian writer, who drew on Scandinavian, Germanic and Christian themes, archetypes and stories.

The cast of Beowulf features Richard Barth as the title character, Edwin Cahill, David Garry, Bill Daelin Gross, John Halbach, Jay Lusteck, Shaun R. Parry and Jack Wadell. Musical direction is by Mark Janus. Set design is by "SNL" production designer Akira Yoshimura, costume design is by Randall Klein, lighting design is by Brian Nason, sound design is by Zachary Williamson, and monsters and puppets are designed by Bob Flanagan.

Performances will be Wednesdays-Saturdays at 8 PM. Matinees are Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 3 PM.

Tickets are $50 and $45 and can be purchased by calling the Irish Repertory Theatre box office, on West 22nd Street, at (212) 727-2737 or by visiting


Moore is co-founder and artistic director of The Irish Repertory Theatre and most recently adapted and directed Finian's Rainbow and Endgame for its stage.

Ciarán O'Reilly is Irish Rep's producing director, Patrick Kelsey is managing director.

Irish Rep's current production of Philadelphia, Here I Come!, directed by Ciarán O'Reilly, has been extended until Sept. 25.

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