James Naughton Is The Master Builder in Premiere of New McGuinness Adaptation

News   James Naughton Is The Master Builder in Premiere of New McGuinness Adaptation
Irish Repertory Theatre in Manhattan honors the father of modern drama, Henrik Ibsen, with the world premiere of Tony Award-winning playwright Frank McGuinness' adaptation of the 1892 classic, The Master Builder, beginning Oct. 10. Two-time Tony Award winner James Naughton has the title role.
James Naughton
James Naughton

The cast also includes Charlotte Parry, Letitia Lange, Kristin Griffith, Daniel Cameron Talbott, Herb Foster and Doug Stender.

The drama, opening Off-Broadway Oct. 23 after previews, was commissioned by the Irish Rep and is directed by the troupe's producing director Ciaran O'Reilly. Performances will continue to Nov. 30.

Past adaptations of Ibsen's work by McGuinness have received acclaim, including a Tony Award for Best Revival in 1997 for A Doll's House. Norwegian Ibsen shook up 19th-century audiences with his socially relevant plays.

In the classic, according to Irish Rep, "Halvard Solness, a successful architect and builder in a small Norwegian town has mercilessly dominated his employees and his wife, Aline. Hilde Wangel, a vivacious young woman arrives unannounced. Hilde has idolized Solness for ten years, since in the early stages of his career, when he built a large church in her hometown and heroically climbed to the top of the tower to celebrate its dedication. The architect's presence had a profound effect on the young girl of 12 when he promised to return and, 'build her a kingdom.' Today, the ten years are up and Hilde has come to reap what he has sown."

The creative team for The Master Builder includes Eugene Lee (set design), Linda Fisher (costume design), Michael Gottlieb (lighting design), Zachary Williamson (sound design), Robert-Charles Vallance (hair and wig design) and Rick Murray (prop master). Stage manager is Pamela Brusoski and assistant stage manager is Janice M. Brandine. Naughton won Tony Awards for his performances in City of Angels and the revival of Chicago and a MAC Award for his cabaret evening, "James Naughton: Street of Dreams." He directed the Broadway revivals of Our Town and The Price, and his screen credits include "Brooklyn Bridge," "The Cosby Mysteries," "Ally McBeal," "The Devil Wears Prada," "The Good Mother," "The Glass Menagerie" and "The Paper Chase."

Frank McGuinness was born in Buncrana, County Donegal, and now lives in Dublin and lectures in English at University College, Dublin. His plays include The Factory Girls, Baglady, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Innocence, Carthaginians, Mary and Lizzie, The Bread Man, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, The Bird Sanctuary, Dolly West's Kitchen and Gates of Gold. His translations include Ibsen's Rosmersholm, Lorca's Yerma, Peer Gynt, Chekhov's Three Sisters, Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, Hedda Gabler (Roundabout Theatre, Broadway, 1994), Uncle Vanya, A Doll's House, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Sophocles' Electra, Ovstrovsky's The Storm, Miss Julie, Euripides' Hecuba, his adaptation of Du Maurier's Rebecca, and his version of Phaedra.

His latest play There Came a Gypsy Riding was produced by the Almeida Theatre in 2007.

Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen — considered the father of modern Western drama for his psychologically rich and socially relevant plays — wrote The Pillars of Society (1877), A Doll House, sometimes called A Doll's House (1879), Ghosts (1881), An Enemy of the People (1882), The Wild Duck (1884), Hedda Gabler (1890) and The Master Builder (1892), among other plays.

O'Reilly most recently directed Prisoner of the Crown, Sive, Defender of the Faith, The Hairy Ape (Drama Desk nomination), The Field, Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Drama Desk nomination), and The Irish Rep original, The Bells of Christmas.

Show times are Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM with matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM.

Tickets, priced $55 and $60, are available by calling (212) 727-2737. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street in Manhattan.

For more information, visit irishrep.org.

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