Melissa Gilbert Joins Off-Broadway Return of the Immersive The Dead, 1904 | Playbill

Off-Broadway News Melissa Gilbert Joins Off-Broadway Return of the Immersive The Dead, 1904
The Little House on the Prairie actor will star in the encore engagement of the Irish Rep production.
<i data-rte2-sanitize="italic">Melissa Gilbert</i>
Melissa Gilbert

Irish Repertory Theatre, Dot Dot Productions, and The American Irish Historical Society have announced casting for the return engagement of The Dead, 1904. Leading the cast as Gretta, the role previously played by Kate Burton, will be Golden Globe nominee Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie).

As a child, Gilbert starred as Laura in the Little House on the Prairie TV series. She later returned to the musical stage version of the show as an adult in the role of Ma.

The immersive show, an adaptation of James Joyce’s short story The Dead, played an acclaimed, sold-out run in The American Irish Historical Society’s historic townhouse on the Upper East Side last year. The production is set to return to the same location beginning November 18.

Boyd Gaines in <i>The Dead, 1904</i> in 2016
Boyd Gaines in The Dead, 1904 in 2016


The Dead, 1904 takes place over three floors of the building, which has been restored to period decoration, with wine and dinner included.

Reprising their roles from the original staging will be Peter Cormican (Rothschild & Sons) as Mr. Brown, Terry Donnelly (Crackskull Row) as Mrs. Mallins, Aedin Moloney (When I was a Girl I used to Scream and Shout) as Molly Ivers, Clare O’Malley (Creed) as Lily, Patti Perkins (The Full Monty) as Aunt Julia, Patricia Kilgarriff (Steel Magnolias) as Kate Morkan, and James Russell (Shining City) as Freddy Malins.

Completing the cast Off-Broadway will be Kimberly Doreen Burns (Finian’s Rainbow) as Mary Jane, Rufus Collins (The Royal Family) as Gabriel, John Treacy Egan (Nice Work If You Can Get It) as Bartell D’Arcy, and Megan Loomis (Woody Sez) as Miss Daly.

Joyce’s story is adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon and novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz, with direction by Irish Rep co-founder Ciarán O’Reilly. The story follows a couple who attend a holiday party in 1904 Dublin. As the snow gently falls outside, the pair contemplates life and the future while the evening’s guests dance, sing, eat, and drink.

The production will officially open November 30 and is set to play through January 7, 2018.

The Dead, 1904 features costume design by Leon Dobkowski (The Weir), lighting design by Michael Gottlieb (The Home Place), sound design by M. Florian Staab (Curvy Widow), properties and interior design by Deirdre Brennan (The Burial at Thebes), and hair and wigs by Robert-Charles Vallance (Jitney). Choreography is by Barry McNabb (Finian’s Rainbow), with Stephen Gabis (Present Laughter) serving as dialect consultant and Mark Hartman (Pageant – The Musical) as music consultant.

The American Irish Historical Society is located at 991 Fifth Avenue, New York. Tickets to The Dead, 1904 begin at $150, and are on sale through Irish Rep’s box office by calling (212) 727-2737 or online at

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