With original Irish music and dancing filling the brothel-ale house of Brendan Behan's The Hostage, Center Stage in Baltimore revives the 1958 comic drama Feb. 18-April 2, with an opening set for Feb. 23. Center Stage artistic director Irene Lewis (New York Shakespeare Festival's The Skin of Our Teeth) directs.
First written in Gaelic as An Giall, The Hostage is set in a lodging house that doubles as a brothel and pub. Pat, a crippled veteran of the Irish "Troubles" runs the place with his world-wise girlfriend, Meg. The house is filled with interesting characters from Monsewer, the senile IRA commander who owns it, to various whores, clients, musicians and young Teresa, a girl fresh from the convent. Their run-of-the-mill lives are disrupted, however, when a young British soldier is brought in to be held in exchange for an IRA loyalist about to be executed.
Peter Rogan stars as Pat with Caitlin O'Connell as Meg. Rogan recently appeared at New York City's Irish Rep in The Shaughraun and The Shadow of a Gunman. O'Connell is a Center Stage veteran with recent performances as Nora in A Doll's House and Emilia in Othello. Don Perkins (Broadway's Borstal Boy) is Monsewer; Resse Madgin (Broadway's Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Holiday) is Leslie; Rosemarie DeWitt is Teresa.
Also in the cast are Willy Conley, Laurence O'Dwyer (Mr. Mulleady), Tom Flynn (Rio Rita), Kyle Primous (Princess Grace), TJ Edwards, Jennifer Smith (Miss Gilchrist), Susan Lynskey (Colette), Warren "Wawa" Snipe and musicians Lisle Kulbach (the Mouse) and Karen Hansen (Kate).
Joining them as waiters and performers are Ted. R. Frankenhauser, Catherin Noblitt, Erinn Rick, Thomas Rinaldi and Ryan Rumage. The five will serve drinks to the Head Theatre audience and participate in the play itself. Designing The Hostage are Side Man set designer Neil Patel, David Burdick (costumes), Mimi Jordan Sherin (lighting) and David Budries (sound). J. Allen Suddeth is the fight choreographer with Willie Rosario choreographing the musical numbers.
Tickets are $29-$24. The Head Theatre at Center Stage is located at 700 North Calvert Street. For reservations, call (410) 332-0033. Center Stage is on the web at http://www.centerstage.org.
-- By Christine Ehren