John Kennedy Toole's A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES to Get NYC Reading This Spring
After years, of toil, good luck, bad luck, plans made, plans dashed, things are looking up for fans of the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize winning novel A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. Shelton Street Theatrical, LLC, the international stage rights holder to the novel which has sold millions of copies in 25 different languages, has announced plans to launch the play.
"'Confederacy' and its ultra-intelligent, arrogant and gigantic protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly will be rolling out..." say producers, Bob Guza and John Hardy of SheltonStreet. The play has been adapted by playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, ("Tuesdays with Morrie" with Mitch Albom), and will be under the direction of veteran DavidEsbjornson, ("Driving Miss Daisy", revival on Broadway with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones). The work will unfold, say the producers, in a series of readings in New York, followed by developmental productions leading to Broadway.
A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES written by John Kennedy Toole and published posthumously by LSU Press in 1980, tells the story of Ignatius J. Reilly, his exploits, misadventures and all-around insultingly brilliant behavior in 1960's New Orleans.
The novel had languished for years on top of a dust-covered armoire in the Toole house on Constantinople Street, New Orleans. Following Toole's tragic suicide, his mother, Thelma, took it upon herself to get the work published, finding success after enlisting the help of author, Walker Percy (National Book Award "The Moviegoer"). With Percy's mentorship and forward to the book, the ink-stained hand-written pages were finally published. The following year it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
"This great novel has never broken through, on stage or on screen," say the producers. "In fact, it has only seen an extremely few, contractually limited, regional stage productions and has completely, famously, defied being made into a motion picture. It almost sounds like a confederacy against 'A Confederacy'. Now we're aiming to finally launch Ignatius, although we prefer to say 'unleash Ignatius!'"
In an epigraph to the book, Toole quotes Jonathan Swift in an apt and somehow prophetic way: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
Say the producers, "...we're going to change that starting now."
Plans and casting for the first New York reading this Spring will be announced shortly.