Irish Rep Season Includes Julian Sands Making NYC Debut Reflecting on Harold Pinter, Directed by John Malkovich

By Kenneth Jones
29 Aug 2012

Julian Sands
Julian Sands

Irish Repertory Theatre's upcoming 25th season will offer the work of Brian Friel and Harold Pinter, songs by Phil Coulter, and the artistry of actor Julian Sands and directors Ciarán O'Reilly and John Malkovich.

The Off-Broadway company's season opens Oct. 3 with Friel's The Freedom of the City, directed by Ciarán O'Reilly on the Rep mainstage on West 22nd Street. At the same time, starting Oct. 10, actor Julian Sands ("A Room With a View," "The Killing Fields") will make his New York stage debut in the smaller W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre in A Celebration of Harold Pinter, directed by Malkovich, and previously seen at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

"With personal anecdotes and reflections drawn from their work together," according to IRT, "Julian Sands combines Harold Pinter's poems and political prose to create a very fresh and intimate insight into the Nobel Laureate's literary legacy."

An additional Christmas show will be announced for the W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre. More shows will be announced for spring 2013.



Here's the Irish Rep season at a glance:

The Freedom of the City
By Brian Friel
Directed by Ciarán O'Reilly
Oct. 3-Nov. 25
Opens Oct. 14

Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage
"Set in Derry, Northern Ireland during the aftermath of a civil rights meeting, The Freedom of the City revolves around an inquiry into the shooting by British soldiers of three marchers as they emerged from the Guildhall. As the inquiry continues, with testimony from 'expert' witnesses, the play relives the real events that led to its institution. When the police disrupt the peaceful protest, three unarmed strangers, Lily, a middle-aged mother of 11, and Michael and Skinner, two young men, take refuge from the streets and find themselves inexplicably in the Mayor's Parlor. As the three settle in to the Lord Mayor's opulent office, word spreads about the 'occupation' of the Guildhall. The motley trio is transformed into a band of armed and desperate terrorists, a fiction that is taken up by the church, the media, the army, and nationalist balladeers, all of whom use the myth for their own diverse ends."

The production features set design by Charlie Corcoran; costume design by David Toser; sound design by Ryan Rumery; lighting design by Michael Gottlieb. Additional designers and casting are to be announced.

A Celebration of Harold Pinter
Starring Julian Sands
Directed by John Malkovich
Oct. 10-Nov. 4
New York Premiere
Opens Oct. 16
W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre

"With personal anecdotes and reflections drawn from their work together, Julian Sands combines Harold Pinter's poems and political prose to create a very fresh and intimate insight into the Nobel Laureate's literary legacy. [The work] premiered at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as an homage to Pinter, who died in 2008. The production was presented in San Francisco and Los Angeles earlier this year."

Nobel Prize-winning author Harold Pinter's writing career spanned more than 50 years. The influential British dramatist penned Betrayal, No Man's Land, Old Times, The Caretaker, The Birthday Party, A Kind of Alaska and The Homecoming.

Academy Award nominee John Malkovich ("Places in the Heart," "In the Line of Fire") directed Broadway revivals of The Caretaker and Arms and the Man, and won Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Obie Awards for his direction of Balm in Gilead.

The Songs I Love So Well
Starring Phil Coulter
Nov. 29-Dec. 30
Opens Dec. 9

Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage
"The Songs I Love So Well celebrates acclaimed Irish musician Phil Coulter's storied career. With his warm Irish brogue as well as his familiar contemporary keyboard style, Coulter presents some of his best loved, and most personal compositions and folk songs, including 'My Boy,' 'Home from the Sea,' 'The Man from God Knows Where,' 'Keep a Candle in the Window' and 'The Town I Loved So Well,' about his childhood in Derry, Northern Ireland. Musician and producer Phil Coulter is an Irish artist with an international reputation as a successful songwriter, pianist, music producer, arranger and director. He is one of the biggest record sellers in Ireland with numerous Platinum, Gold and Silver discs."

For more information about The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 W. 22nd Street) and its upcoming season, visit irishrep.org.

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Currently at Irish Repertory Theatre, with performances extended through Sept. 14, is Bob Merrill and George Abbott's New Girl in Town, a musical based on Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, directed by artistic director Charlotte Moore.