Man and Superman, With Brian Murray, Will Be Preserved for Lincoln Center Archives
By Andrew Gans
Irish Repertory Theatre and Gingold Theatrical Group's co-production of George Bernard Shaw's complete four-act Man and Superman — his 1903 comedy set in England, Spain and Hell — will be filmed for the Lincoln Center Library for The Performing Arts’ Theatre On Film and Tape Archive June 29 at Irish Rep's Off-Broadway home on West 22nd Street. Tony Award nominee Brian Murray is among cast members.
The critically acclaimed production began previews April 26 and officially opened May 6. The limited engagement, originally scheduled to conclude June 17, was previously extended through July 1.
It's directed and adapted by David Staller, curator of the monthly Manhattan reading series Project Shaw.
"The delight of being asked to have this production filmed for the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts archives feels like winning an award," director Staller told Playbill.com. "We're all incredibly honored by it. Personally, it’s wildly gratifying."
About the production, which is performed with its rarely utilized philosophical "dream act" known as Don Juan in Hell, Staller added, "Call it madness, but for our first full production I was determined to choose one of Shaw's most complex plays. People tried to talk me out of it, but I've always been fascinated by the challenges of Man and Superman, so I jumped in headfirst. The editing of this huge play down to a manageable length took a massive amount of time and research, since I wanted to substantiate any cuts or script changes. It was worrying, of course, how it would be received, but directing such a great cast and having such a superb design team made all the difference. The positive response has actually exceeded my expectations."
The play about Jack Tanner's determination to not marry his ward, Ann Whitefield — and how she pursues him, even to Hell, in the famous fantasy sequence — features Janie Brookshire as Ann, Will Bradley as Octavius, Evan Zes as Mendoza, Laurie Kennedy as Mrs. Whitefield, Max Gordon Moore as Jack, Paul O'Brien as Malone, Margaret Robinson as Violet, Brian Sgambati as Straker, Zachary Spicer as Hector and Tony Award nominee Brian Murray (a veteran of Irish Rep's Candida, Gaslight, Long Day's Journey Into Night and Da) as Ramsden, Ann's second guardian.
Man and Superman's production team includes set designer James Noone; lighting designer Kirk Bookman; costume designer Theresa Squire; sound designer M. Florian Staab; and hair and wig designer Robert-Charles Vallance.
Production stage manager is Elis C. Arroyo. Assistant stage manager is Arthur Atkinson.
Performances of Man and Superman — billed as New York's first production in 25 years — play The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 W. 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues) Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM; plus 3 PM matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are $55 and $65, and are available by calling (212) 727-2737 or online at irishrep.org.
This production is part of GTG's larger vision of the new festival called "Shaw New York," running this spring at various venues in Manhattan; more details about the planned annual festival will be announced. The festival will include a Shaw Symposium featuring critics, academics and actors discussing the play; as well as concerts featuring music Shaw had championed as "modern music" while he was a music critic (Brahms, Wagner, Bartok, Dvorak, etc.); and a reading of one of GTG's commissioned new plays. For more information, visit projectshaw.com.
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