Brian Murray Directs Roberta Maxwell in U.S. Premiere of Kilroy's Shape of Metal | Playbill

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News Brian Murray Directs Roberta Maxwell in U.S. Premiere of Kilroy's Shape of Metal Origin Theatre Company's U.S. premiere of Irish playwright Thomas Kilroy's The Shape of Metal, directed by Brian Murray and starring Roberta Maxwell, opens Sept. 12 after previews since Sept. 8, at 59E59 Theaters in Manhattan.

Produced in association with The Sullivan Project, the play continues a limited engagement to Sept. 30.


According to production notes, "On the eve of the opening of a permanent exhibition of her work at the Museum of Modern Art, the world-renowned sculptor Nell Jeffrey and her daughter Judith struggle to come to terms with the disappearance of Grace, Judith's elder sister, who walked out of her mother's studio 30 years before. The mystery of Grace's disappearance lies at the heart of the play, and haunts both Judith's life and Nell's work until finally, through a cruel twist of fate, mother and daughter are forced to confront the events of the past, and exorcise its unquiet ghosts."

Maxwell, who plays Nell, made her Broadway debut in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in 1968, and appeared in the original Broadway production of Equus, starring Anthony Hopkins, in the role of Jill. Maxwell has received two Obie Awards (one shared with Brian Murray, for Ashes) as well as a Drama Desk Award, and has appeared in numerous film and television roles.

Joining Maxwell are Julia Gibson (Mary Zimmerman's Arabian Nights at Manhattan Theater Club and Theresa Rebeck's The View of the Dome at New York Theater Workshop) and Molly Ward (a recent graduate from the American Repertory Theater in Boston). Director Brian Murray is also a respected Tony Award-nominated actor. He made his stage debut in 1950 as Taplow in The Browning Version in his native South Africa and continued on the South African stage until 1957. He then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. He is a three-time Tony nominee for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, The Little Foxes and The Crucible, as well as a recipient of multiple Obie (Ashes and The Play About the Baby) and Drama Desk (Noises Off, Travels with My Aunt and The Little Foxes) awards. Most recently, he starred in the Irish Rep revival of Gaslight and in Colder Than Here at MCC. He was last seen on Broadway in the Lincoln Center Theater production of The Rivals. Also a distinguished director, his Broadway directing credits include Hay Fever, Arsenic and Old Lace, Blithe Spirit and The Circle.

Thomas Kilroy (playwright) is one of Ireland's most distinguished playwrights, with 13 plays to his credit, most of which (including The Shape of Metal) have premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. In his early career he was play editor at the Abbey. Subsequently, he co-founded (with Brian Friel, Stephen Rea and Tom Paulin) and was director of the touring theatre company Field Day. His plays include The Death and Resurrection of Mr. Roche; The O'Neill; Tea and Sex and Shakespeare; Talbot's Box; The Seagull (adapted from Chekhov); Double Cross; The Madame MacAdam Traveling Theatre; and The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde.

His 1971 novel, "The Big Chapel," was short-listed for the prestigious Booker Prize, and was awarded the Guardian Fiction Prize. His other awards include the Heinemann Award for Literature; The Aib Literary Prize; the American-Irish Foundation Award for Literature; The Rockefeller Foundation Residency; the Kyoto University Foundation Fellowship; and a Prix Nikki Special Commendation.

The creative team for The Shape of Metal includes set designer Lex Liang, lighting designer Phil Monat, costume designer Elizabeth Flauto, sound designer Zachary Williamson, production stage manager Raynelle Wright, assistant stage manager Jacqueline Prats, assistant director Laurence Lowry.

The performance schedule is Tuesday-Saturday at 8:15 PM and Sunday at 3:15 PM. Tickets are $21 ($14.70 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to For more information, visit

59E59 Theaters is on East 59th Street between Madison and Park.

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