Mahoney, Guinan, Irwin, Newsome, Wilder Open in Steppenwolf's Seafarer Dec. 14

News   Mahoney, Guinan, Irwin, Newsome, Wilder Open in Steppenwolf's Seafarer Dec. 14
A year after its Broadway bow, The Seafarer, the acclaimed Conor McPherson play about a drunken card game on Christmas Eve, makes its Chicago premiere, opening Dec. 14, in a Steppenwolf Theatre production starring John Mahoney.
John Mahoney and Tom Irwin in rehearsal
John Mahoney and Tom Irwin in rehearsal Photo by Mark Campbell

Performances began Dec. 4 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, where the run lasts to Feb. 8, 2009.

Meanwhile, at Steppenwolf's Upstairs Theatre, William Petersen is starring in Irish playwright McPherson's Dublin Carol.


Mahoney — best known for his work as Martin Crane on the hit sitcom "Frasier" — plays the blind, foul-mouthed drunken Richard in the humor-spiked drama. Also featured are Francis Guinan (as Richard's troubled-past brother, Sharky), Tom Irwin (as devilish Mr. Lockhart), Randall Newsome (Nicky) and Alan Wilder (Ivan).

Steppenwolf ensemble member Randall Arney directs. "It's Christmas Eve in Dublin," according to press notes. "In the rundown house where Sharky cares for his blind brother, old acquaintances gather for a card game — joined by an ominous stranger. As the booze flows and the game intensifies, Sharky discovers he is playing for his soul. In this eerie, darkly humorous tale, celebrated playwright Conor McPherson examines how we face the demons of our past as we struggle to find redemption."

The design team includes Takeski Kata (sets), Janice Pytel (costumes), Daniel Ionazzi (lights) and Richard Woodbury (sound). Christine D. Freeburg is the stage manager, and Rose Marie Packer is the assistant stage manager.

Mahoney, who began his acting career on stage at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in the early '80s, won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor for his role in The House of Blue Leaves. Mahoney's films include "Moonstruck," "Say Anything," "In the Line of Fire" and "Primal Fear." For his role on "Frasier," which began in 1993, he was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Recently, Mahoney has returned to the theatre in the Broadway revival of Prelude to a Kiss at the Roundabout Theatre Company and the world premiere of Better Late at the Northlight Theatre in Skokie, IL.

Mahoney will also star in the Geffen Playhouse's production of The Seafarer, which runs April 14-May 24, 2009. Randall Arney is Geffen's artistic director.

Born in Dublin, playwright McPherson's plays also include Shining City, Poor Beast in the Rain, Port Authority, The Weir, St. Nicholas and This Lime Tree Bower. McPherson won London's Olivier Award for The Weir and received a Tony nomination for Shining City.

Ensemble member Arney directed McPherson's The Weir at L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse. Other directing credits include Atlanta, Speed-the-Plow, All My Sons, Take Me Out, I Just Stopped by to See the Man, Boy Gets Girl and God's Man In Texas.

Steppenwolf Broadway transfers under his leadership include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Song of Jacob Zulu (six Tony Award nominations) and The Grapes of Wrath (Tony Award winner).

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