THE BIRDS Set for Irish Rep Reading Series, 6/29; Michael Cerveris, Tonya Pinkins, et al. Lead Cast

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THE BIRDS Set for Irish Rep Reading Series, 6/29; Michael Cerveris, Tonya Pinkins, et al. Lead Cast

The Irish Repertory Theatre continues its sixth season of the Irish Rep Reading Series, with a free reading of Conor McPherson's adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's THE BIRDS on Friday, June 29 at 3 p.m. at the Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street) in Manhattan. Henry Wishcamper directs.

The cast of THE BIRDS includes Michael Cerveris (Evita, In the Next Room Or The Vibrator Play); Reyna de Courcy (Burning, Orange Hat & Grace); Jonathan Hogan (Irish Rep's Molly Sweeney, Book of Days); and Tonya Pinkins (Storefront Church, Milk Like Sugar).

In Conor McPherson's adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's THE BIRDS, strangers Nat and Diane take refuge in an isolated, abandoned house from the unnerving masses of birds that attack everyone around them. They find relative sanctuary but not comfort or peace: there's no electricity, little food and the birds always return. And they worry about a nearby neighbor, who may or may not still be alive and watching them. Soon another refugee, the young, attractive Julia, arrives with some news of the outside world, but her presence also brings discord. The uncertain survival of the three becomes even more doubtful when paranoia creeps into their little refuge, adding an internal threat to match the external threat of the birds.

Playwright Conor McPherson was born in Dublin in 1971. He attended University College Dublin where he began to write and direct. His stage plays include Rum & Vodka, The Good Thief, This Lime Tree Bower, St Nicholas, The Weir, Dublin Carol, Port Authority, Shining City, The Seafarer and The Veil. Awards for his plays include the Laurence Olivier Award, three Tony Award nominations, The Evening Standard Award, Critics' Circle Award, Meyer-Whitworth Award and The George Devine Award. The first production of his adaptation of THE BIRDS took place at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in 2009. The Guthrie Theater produced THE BIRDS earlier this year under the direction of Mr. Wishcamper (Graceland, Port Authority).

Literary Manager Kara Manning hopes that the Reading Series will "give playwrights, both emerging and more established, the invaluable opportunity to develop their new work in a supportive, safe environment and will also introduce some Irish playwrights, especially those who might not yet have the New York recognition they merit, to an American audience." The Irish Repertory Theatre's 2007 production of Stuart Carolan's Defender of the Faith and 2010 world premiere of Kelly Younger's Banished Children of Eve were alumni of the Reading Series.

As part of its mission, The Irish Repertory Theatre "encourages the development of works focusing on the Irish and Irish-American experience, as well as a range of other cultures."

Founded by Ciarán O'Reilly and Charlotte Moore, The Irish Repertory Theatre opened its doors in September 1988 with Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars and is celebrating its 24th Season. The Irish Rep is currently the only year-round theatre company in New York City devoted to bringing Irish and Irish American works to the stage. Recognized with the Jujamcyn Theatres Award, a special Drama Desk Award for "Excellence in Presenting Distinguished Irish Drama,"and the Lucille Lortel Award for "Outstanding Body of Work," The Irish Rep has celebrated the very best in Irish theatre for over twenty years, from the masters to the new generation of Irish and Irish American writers who are transforming the stage. Nearly 40,000 audience members annually attend productions at our theatre located in the heart of New York's Off-Broadway community. Once here, they witness The Irish Rep's engaging perspective on the Irish and their unique contributions to the world of drama.

Currently on the Irish Repertory Theatre's main stage is George Bernard Shaw's MAN AND SUPERMAN, a co-production with Gingold Theatrical Group, with performances through July 1, directed by David Staller.

The Reading Series is underwritten in part by Alexis Doyle and the members of The Irish Repertory Theatre's Patron's Circle.

The reading of Conor McPherson's adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's THE BIRDS on Friday, June 29 at 3 p.m. is FREE and open to the public at The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street). Seating is limited. RSVP by calling The Irish Repertory Theatre Box Office at 212-727-2737. For more information visit www.irishrep.org.

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