THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY Returns to Irish Repertory Theatre, Now thru 1/20

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Off-Broadway's Irish Repertory Theatre has announced the return of Brian Friel's THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY - with performances to resume tonight, January 2 on the Irish Repertory's Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage (132 West 22nd Street). Performances run through January 20. 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 co-stars Caroline "Cara" Seymour as Lily; Joseph Sikora as Skinner; and James Russell as Michael; with Ciarán Byrne; Clark Carmichael; Peter Cormican; Christa Scott-Reed; Craig Wroe; and Evan Zes.

The production features set design by Charlie Corcoran; costume design by DAVID TOSER; lighting design by Michael Gottlieb; original music by Ryan Rumery; sound design by 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.

THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY launched The Irish Repertory Theatre's 25th Anniversary Season with previews beginning October 3 with initial performances through November 25.

Also at the Irish Repertory Theatre, with performances beginning January 9 in the company's W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre, is the U.S. premiere of Charlotte Jones's AIRSWIMMING. Directed by John Keating, the production features Aedin Moloney and Rachel Pickup (DANCING AT LUGHNASA) and is produced in association with Fallen Angel Theatre Company, Inc. Opening is set for January 13, with performances through February 3.

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.

THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY runs January 2-20 at The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues): Tuesdays at 7pm; Wednesdays 3pm and 8pm; Thursdays at 7pm; Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $55 and $65, and are available by calling 212-727-2737 or online at www.irishrep.org.

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