2011-2012 Season

The 20th Anniversary Production
Dancing at Lughnasa
by Brian Friel
directed by Charlotte Moore
choreography by Barry McNabb

October 20 - January 29, 2012


DANCING AT LUGHNASA opened on Broadway in October, 1991 and won the 1992 Tony Award for Best Play.

This extraordinary play, widely regarded as Friel’s masterpiece, is the study of five unmarried sisters, named for Friel’s mother and sisters, (“those five brave, Glenties women”) who live in a modest cottage in Donegal. On the threshold of the autumn of 1936, the household revolves around the eight year old love-child, Michael, and the Mundy brother priest, Uncle Jack, recently returned from 25 years in a leper colony in Uganda. Ancient tribal customs and Christian beliefs clash as the autumnal fires celebrating the Harvest God, Lugh, bathe the high grass in golden light and distant music on the radio floats across the fields.

The sisters, with unfailing courage and sweet forgiveness dance in a wild, final celebration of their way of life before it changes forever.

Performance Schedule:
Tuesday - Saturday at 8pm; Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday at 3pm

Kate Orlagh Cassidy
Gerry Kevin Collins
Gerry (as of Jan. 17) Billy Lyons
Jack Michael Countryman
Jack (as of Dec. 20) John Tyrrell
Chris Annabel Hägg
Maggie Jo Kinsella
Rose Aedín Moloney
Michael Ciarán O'Reilly
Michael (as of Dec. 27) Michael McMonagle
Agnes Rachel Pickup

Artistic Team:
Directed by Charlotte Moore
Choreograpy by
Barry McNabb
Set Design Antje Ellermann
Co-Costume Design Linda Fisher and Jessica Barrios
Lighting Design Richard Pilbrow and Michael Gottlieb
Sound Design M. Florian Staab
Music Ryan Rumery and Christian Frederickson
Props Deirdre Brennan
Dialect Coach Stephen Gabis
Production Stage Manager Pamela Brusoski
Assistant Stage Manager Rebecca C. Monroe
Producer Ciarán O'Reilly

What the Critics Have to Say...

“It is A TIMELESS WORK OF GENIUS... and the Irish Repertory Theatre has given it A REVIVAL THAT IS WORTHY IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY. Ms. Moore's cast, well led by Orlagh Cassidy and featuring an especially striking performance by Aedín Moloney, is so evenly matched that you might almost think the actors were blood relatives. "Dancing at Lughnasa" is AS PIERCINGLY, PERMANENTLY ENTHRALLING AS EVER. If you saw "Molly Sweeney" at the Irish Rep earlier this year, you won't need to be told to go see what Ms. Moore, the company's artistic director, has done with "Dancing at Lughnasa." If not, or if you're unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with Mr. Friel's work, then make haste to pay a visit to Ballybeg. It won't be your last.” — Wall Street Journal

FIVE ACCOMPLISHED ACTRESSES BRING VIBRANT LIFE TO THE UNMARRIAGEABLE MUNDY SISTERS... To audiences who know the play only from the flat 1998 movie with Meryl Streep or not at all, its theatrical spell will be revealed. When a blast of Celtic music comes over the radio in the play’s most indelible scene, possessing the Mundy sisters one by one as they stomp and yelp and whirl in individual states of rapturous release, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO BE TRANSPORTED ALONG WITH THEM.” — New York Times

  “So you think you can captivate?  “Dancing at Lughnasa” — Brian Friel’s bittersweet Tony-winning play of common lives told with uncommon grace — does exactly just that in  A RICHLY SATISFYING REVIVAL at the Irish Repertory Company. Director Charlotte Moore has assembled a first-rate cast and guides her actors to sensitive and distinctive performances. That includes a wordless and cathartic dance choreographed by Barry McNabb. THIS WONDERFUL PRODUCTION OF THIS BEAUTIFUL PLAY FLIES HIGH.” — NY Daily News

“The off-Broadway Irish Repertory Theatre's SUPERB PRODUCTION of Friel's lyrical, bittersweet drama "Dancing at Lughnasa" is NOT TO BE MISSED. The haunting, autobiographical memory play, winner of three Tony Awards for its Broadway run in 1991-92, CASTS ITS MAGICAL SPELL YET AGAIN, under the artistic vision and sure touch of director Charlotte Moore, enacted by a fine cast.” — Associated Press

“What's needed to bring such a script to life is a cast that brings out the vivid emotional lives underneath the words, and, fortunately, director Charlotte Moore has that in abundance. For those who can see it, this lovely memory play is SOMETHING WORTH REMEMBERING.TheaterMania

“Sensitively acted and gracefully directed by Charlotte Moore (with elegant choreography by Barry McNabb)...“Lughnasa,” by turns joyous and tragic, is UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE IN NEW YORK AT THE MOMENT.” — Bloomberg

“...A SMALL JEWEL OF A REVIVAL. A fine ensemble in a fine play.” — New York Magazine

“In lesser hands this intimate, largely plotless portrait could easily drag but Charlotte Moore's LOVELY PRODUCTION FEATURING SOME BEAUTIFULLY NUANCED PERFORMANCES and ample doses of humor allow the work to soar to poetic heights... in this fine collaborative effort, each one leaves an indelible mark on our own memories.” — Roma Torre, NY1

“What better place to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Brian Friel's 1991 Tony award winning Dancing at Lughnasa than The Irish Rep Theater, one of New York's greatest small treasures where all things Irish have thrived for almost a quarter century? Helmed by artistic director Charlotte Moore, it's A LOVELY PRODUCTION of Friel's music infused memory play. this NOT TO BE MISSED REVIVAL is the Irish Rep's third producton of a Brian Friel play.” — CurtainUp

“Friel’s elegiac memory play... beautifully captures the tensions between desire and duty, past and present, and family and individuality. The actors are appealing, the staging simple, the music and dancing restrained but charming. Thankfully, in a play where many pivotal events happen offstage, THE CAST NAVIGATES THE TALKY TEXT WITH GRACE and their lilting brogues may make for some nice word-music.” — Time Out

“In Charlotte Moore’s fine production, Ciaran O’Reilly’s Michael is a particular triumph, with this always reliable actor absolutely at the top of his form, playing his character, as a child and as an adult, with a grace which eliminates any problems the role itself may present. As Gerry Evans, who fathered Michael, Kevin Collins is a standout, as is Orlagh Cassidy as the grim teacher, Kate, the sisters’ primary backbone. The sisters are outstanding, including Jo Kinsella’s free-spirited Maggie, Annabel Hagg’s lovely Chris, Rachel Pickup’s sober, restrained Agnes, and Aedin Moloney’s vaguely damaged Rose. Moore has done wonders with a reasonably difficult play. The choreography provided by Barry McNabb makes a solid contribution, since the text calls for a fair amount of dance. “Dancing at Lughnasa” is, beyond a doubt, ONE OF THE IRISH REPERTORY THEATRE'S BEST RECENT PRODUCTIONS.” — Irish Echo

“It's a beautiful play, given a beautiful production. And IT WILL LINGER IN YOUR MIND AND CREATE A MEMORY OF ITS OWN.” — New York Irish Arts

A WARM AND LOVELY MOUNTING by Charlotte Moore at the Irish Rep. The play emphasizes the simple everyday events that separate home and family from the threats of the outside world, and Moore and her ensemble do a very fine job of displaying both the supportive sisterhood and hints of the perpetual sadness underneath.” — Broadway World


      all photos by Carol Rosegg












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