The company devoted to classic and contemporary Irish voices and stories will open the play, officially, Oct. 24.
Gets, of Broadway's The Story of My Life and Amour, co-stars as period songwriter Stephen Foster, who commingles with fictional characters. The play, adapted from Peter Quinn's epic novel set in 1860s Manhattan, launches Irish Rep's 23rd season. Ciarán O'Reilly, who helmed last season's celebrated revival of The Emperor Jones, directs.
David Lansbury, who appeared at Irish Rep in The Hairy Ape, and on Broadway in 2001 revivals of Hedda Gabler and Major Barbara, co-stars as Irish minstrel Jack Mulcahey.
The Irish Repertory Theatre commissioned playwright Younger to write this "bristling drama," according to Irish Rep notes. "Banished Children of Eve follows a motley assemblage of New Yorkers through a few days in the terrible summer of 1863 when the Civil War had just entered its third bloody year. Against the backdrop of the dangerous, sweltering Civil War summer of 1863, the Bowery explodes with racial tension and the City of New York rushes headlong toward the fatal July draft riots. Moving to the music and rhythms of these dangerous times, a diverse band of characters are drawn together in a net of intrigue and violence. Jack Mulcahey, leading an Irish Minstrel Troupe, stars opposite his true love, a beautiful Mulatto girl who whites her face and crosses the ice as Eliza in Uncle Tom's Cabin. On the blistering streets outside, corrupt Tammany Hall bosses plot to take advantage of the chaos to enrich themselves whilst destroying any hopes of escape to a place of freedom and peace for Jack and his little family. The famous songwriter, Stephen Foster, himself one of the Banished Children of Eve, wends his way through this entrancing drama as he produces the beautiful melodies which have given the country its lasting evocation of the times."
Joining Gets and Lansbury in the cast are Christopher Borger, Rory Duffy, Amber Gray, Patrice Johnson, Graeme Malcolm, Kern McFadden, Jonny Orsini and Amanda Quaid. The production team includes set designer Charlie Corcoran; costume designer Martha Hally; lighting designer Brian Nason; sound designer Ryan Rummery and Christian Fredrickson; puppet designer Bob Flanagan; and choreographer Barry McNabb. Production stage manager is Pamela Brusoski; assistant stage manager is Rebecca C. Monroe.
The Irish Repertory Theatre's home is at 132 W. 22nd Street. The play runs to Dec. 5 on the following schedule: Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM; plus 3 PM matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. (With the following exceptions: No performance Thursday, Nov. 25; added matinee at 3 PM on Friday, Nov. 26.) Tickets are $65 and $55, and are available by calling (212) 727-2737 or online at www.irishrep.org.