Irish Repertory Theatre Opens Brian Friel's THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY Tonight, 10/14

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Off-Broadway's Irish Repertory Theatre launches its 25th Anniversary Season with Brian Friel's THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY – with an official press opening tonight, October 14 on the Irish Repertory's Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage (132 West 22nd Street). Performances are set to run through November 25. Ciarán O'Reilly directs.

Director Ciarán O'Reilly helmed The company's recent productions of Eugene O'Neill's BEYOND THE HORIZON and THE EMPEROR JONES (Joseph A Callaway Award winner for Direction; Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Audelco nominations). As an actor, he co-starred in Irish Repertory's 2011 revivals of Brian Friel's DANCING AT LUGHNASA and MOLLY SWEENEY.

Set in Derry, Northern Ireland during the aftermath of a civil rights meeting, THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY revolves around an inquiry into the shooting by British soldiers of three marchers as they emerged from the Guildhall. As the inquiry continues, with testimony from 'expert' witnesses, the play relives the real events that led to its institution. When the police disrupt the peaceful protest, three unarmed strangers, Lily, a middle-aged mother of 11, and Michael and Skinner, two young men, take refuge from the streets and find themselves inexplicably in the Mayor's Parlor. As the three settle in to the Lord Mayor's opulent office, word spreads about the "occupation" of the Guildhall. The motley trio is transformed into a band of armed and desperate terrorists, a fiction that is taken up by the church, the media, the army, and nationalist balladeers, all of whom use the myth for their own diverse ends.

THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY features Cara Seymour (Mike Leigh's ECSTASY and GOOSE-PIMPLES, Noel Coward's PRESENT LAUGHTER) as Lily; Joseph Sikora (THE CAINE MUTINY COURT-MARTIAL, "Boardwalk Empire") as Skinner; and James Russell (CTV's hit series "Comedy Inc.") as Michael; with Ciarán Byrne; Clark Carmichael; Christa Scott-Reed; John C. Vennema (THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, BELLS ARE RINGING) as Judge; Craig Wroe; and Evan Zes (MAN AND SUPERMAN).

The production features set design by Charlie Corcoran; costume design by DAVID TOSER; lighting design by Michael Gottlieb; sound design by Ryan Rumery and M. Florian Staab; and wig & hair design by Robert-Charles Vallance. Dialect Coach is Stephen Gabis. Production
Stage Manager is
Pamela Brusoski; Assistant Stage Manager is Rebecca C. Monroe.

In addition to DANCING AT LUGHNASA and MOLLY SWEENEY, which were both presented in 2011 at The Irish Repertory Theatre, directed by Charlotte Moore, Brian Friel's best known plays include TRANSLATIONS and the Tony Award-nominated PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! which was revived at Irish Rep in 2005. Mr. Friel's other plays include FAITH HEALER, WONDERFUL TENNESSEE, THE MUNDY SCHEME, ARISTOCRATS, MAKING HISTORY, and among others, the Tony Award-nominated LOVERS. THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY was first performed at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland, in 1973, and opened on Broadway in February 1974.

Continuing The Irish Repertoty Theatre's 25th Anniversary Season is Julian Sands in A CELEBRATION OF Harold Pinter, with previews set to begin October 10, prior to an official press opening October 16, in the Irish Repertory Theatre's W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre. John Malkovich directs.

Co-founded by Producing Director Ciarán O'Reilly and Artistic Director Charlotte Moore, The Irish Repertory Theatre opened its doors in September 1988 with Sean O'Casey's THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS. The mission of the theatre was and remains to bring works by Irish and
Irish American masters and contemporary playwrights to American audiences; to provide a context for understanding the contemporary Irish American experience; and to encourage the development of new works focusing on the Irish and Irish American experience, as well as
a range of other cultures. Ms. Moore and Mr. O'Reilly received the 2011 Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award from Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc.

Performances of THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY run through November 25 at The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues): Wednesdays 3pm and 8pm; Thursdays at 7pm; Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 3pm. With the following exceptions: added performance Tuesday, November 20 at 8pm; no performance Thursday, November 22. Opening Night is Sunday, October 14 at 7pm. Tickets are $55 and $65, and are available by calling 212-727-2737 or online at www.irishrep.org.

For more information, visit www.irishrep.org.

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