BELFREY to Open 1/31 at Malibu Playhouse

The second play in MALIBU PLAYHOUSE'S 2013-2014 season will be the West Coast Premiere of Belfry by Billy Roche, opening Friday, January 31, 2014. The play will be directed by Veronica Brady and stars Michael Hyland, Rebekah Tripp and 2010 American Idol contestant Carson Higgins. Tickets are $30, and may be purchased through the box office, online at www.malibuplayhouse.org/belfry, or by calling 323-960-7711. There will be previews on January 29th and 30th for $20. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Malibu Playhouse is located at 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265 (near Zuma Beach, between Kanan-Dume Road and Morning View Drive, near Heathercliff Road).

Belfry first premiered in 1991 at the Bush Theatre in London and then transferred to The Abbey Theatre and the Theatre Royal. It was subsequently filmed for the BBC with the original cast. Belfry is the third play in Roche's internationally renowned The Wexford Trilogy, which was performed in its entirety in 1992 and inspired playwrights Conor McPherson and Martin McDonagh, both of whom credit Roche as "the godfather of the contemporary Irish play."

In Belfry, Artie O'Leary is a lonely, middle-aged man who lives with his invalid mother and works as a sacristan in the Catholic church in small-town Wexford. He falls in love with Angela, the married woman who changes flowers at the church, and when he kisses her after the birthday party for a troubled altar boy, their passionate affair in the church's belfry begins. Artie's life changes for the better, until a stunning betrayal tears he and Angela apart.

Director Veronica Brady has served as Artistic Director and founder of three theatre companies specializing in new American plays and has received awards for Artistic Excellence, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brady has been frequently nominated for Los Angeles Ovation Awards and LA Weekly Awards, having won Best Director and Best Play. Some of her film and television credits include: Patrick Dempsey - Racing Le Mans, Discovery (Producer) documentary series; Ethel, a film by Rory Kennedy (Producer) HBO, 5 Emmy Nominations and Sundance Official entry; The Alzheimers Project: Grandpa Do You Know Who I Am? with Maria Shriver, HBO (Supervising Producer), 2009 Emmy Award, Television Critics Award; Every Fifteen Minutes (Director), short film on drunk driving and teens 2009 Telly Award.

Of the play, Brady says: "Belfry is a brilliant play. It has all the components - beautiful language, challenging characters, rousing music and a mythical Irish setting. Typical of great Irish literature,
it's both uproariously comic and painfully tragic - the perfect concoction for a night of great theatre."

The cast for Belfry includes: Carson Higgins as "Dominic", Michael Hyland as "Artie", John Rushing as "Donal", Graham Sibley as "Father Pat" and Rebekah Tripp as "Angela".

Carson Higgins was a 2010 contestant on American Idol and most recently starred in the international tour of Green Day's American Idiot The Musical. Other theatre credits include The Columbine Project, Right Together Left Together, suburbia and Enter the Guardsman.

Michael Hyland has appeared in several notable productions, including Of Equal Measure at The Kirk Douglas Theater, You Can't Take it With You at Antaeus Theatre Company and Little Malcolm at The Long Beach Playhouse.

Rebekah Tripp is a member of Antaeus Theatre Company and was most recently in their acclaimed production of The Liar. Other Antaeus productions include Peace in Our Time, The Fox and Ruffian on the Stair.

Graham Sibley is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA and a founding member of IAMA Theatre Company. At EST/LA: Crack Whore Galore - LIVE, House of Gold, Bright Boy. At IAMA: World Premiere productions of Leslye Headland's Cinephilia and Assistance, Neil LaBute's Call Back and Christian Durso's Shiner in New York and Los Angeles. Other LA Theatre: Different Words For The Same Thing with Center Theatre Group, Eurydice at A Noise Within.

A former child actor and lawyer, John Rushing has many Chicago theatre credits including The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (original cast, Victory Gardens Theater), Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Equus, The Love of the Nightingale and Kingsville (original cast, Stage Left Theater).

Malibu Playhouse Artistic Director Gene Franklin Smith and Managing Director Claudia Zahn will produce. Smith's association with Billy Roche began in 2008 when he co-produced Poor Beast in the Rain, Roche's second play in The Wexford Trilogy, with Michael O'Hagan (original cast of Belfry) and Pamela Salem for the Salem K Theatre Company at the Matrix Theatre.

"Billy rarely grants the production rights for his plays to small theatres," says Smith, "but he offered me the rights to four of his plays. It's an incredible honor and a vote of confidence for the quality work we're producing at Malibu Playhouse."

Belfry opens Friday, January 31, 2013 with a Red Carpet Gala ($50) and runs through Sunday, March 9, 2014. Single tickets for regular performances are $30.00. Low priced previews are Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30 at 8 PM ($20.00). Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets may be purchased through the box office, at http://www.malibuplayhouse.org/belfry or by calling 323-960-7711. There may also be tickets available at the box office the day of each performance, however advance reservations are recommended.

Malibu Playhouse is located at 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265 (near Zuma beach, between Kanan-Dume Road and Morning View Drive, near Heathercliff Road). Phone 310-589-1998. For more information visit the website: www.malibuplayhouse.org.




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