Matthew Broderick, Laura Benanti, Melissa Errico & David Staller to Lead THE LETTERS SERIES at Irish Rep

DEAR LIAR will run April 25-30, 2023, and LOVE LETTERS will run May 30 – June 4, 2023.

By: Mar. 28, 2023
Matthew Broderick, Laura Benanti, Melissa Errico & David Staller to Lead THE LETTERS SERIES at Irish Rep
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Irish Repertory Theatre will present The Letters Series, featuring Dear Liar by Jerome Kilty & George Bernard Shaw, directed by Charlotte Moore (A Child's Christmas in Wales) and starring Tony Award nominee Melissa Errico and David Staller; and Love Letters by A.R. Gurney, directed by Ciarán O'Reilly (Endgame), starring Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti.

Inspired by correspondence of fact and fiction that's stood the test of time, The Letters Series explores the thrill of witnessing great relationships unfold and sometimes shape our history in an age of instant communication. Dear Liar and Love Letters allow us to look "behind the curtain" and examine the universal.

DEAR LIAR

By Jerome Kilty & George Bernard Shaw

Directed by Charlotte Moore

Starring Melissa Errico and David Staller

Running April 25-30, 2023

Adapted from the legendary correspondence between George Bernard Shaw and celebrated actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Jerome Kilty's Dear Liar explores the relationship between these two fiery and fascinating personalities. In Kilty's masterful compilation between "Stella and Joey"... (which they nicknamed one another) ... in scenes of both lovemaking and furious confrontation, they verbally duel with each other, all the while making passionate love through their gorgeously exorbitant exchanges.

David Staller, who has dedicated two decades to all things Shavian, embodies George Bernard Shaw as no other actor could possibly approach, and the Tony Award-nominated Melissa Errico, acclaimed for her performance as Eliza Doolittle, consumes the role of Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who was herself Shaw's original Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion.

The Irish Repertory Theatre last produced Dear Liar in 1999. Directed by Charlotte Moore, it starred Marian Seldes, who won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance as Mrs. Pat and distinguished Irish actor Donal Donnelly as George Bernard Shaw.

LOVE LETTERS

By A.R. Gurney

Directed by Ciarán O'Reilly

Starring Matthew Broderick and Laura Benanti

May 30 - June 4, 2023

A Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama, A.R. Gurney's Love Letters is a two-hander drama comprised of letters exchanged between two friends over a lifetime. Andrew and Melissa, both born into wealth and position, begin their correspondence in childhood with birthday party thank-you notes. Their letters continue through their boarding school and college years while they are romantically attached and later through their individual marriages and careers. As the actors read the letters aloud, an evocative, touching, frequently funny, but always telling pair of character studies is revealed, where what is implied is as revealing and affecting as what is written down.

Directed by John Tillinger, Love Letters opened with Kathleen Turner and John Rubenstein on March 27, 1989, at the Off-Broadway Promenade Theatre, which ran for 64 performances. The play was performed only on Sunday and Monday evenings and changed its cast weekly. On October 31 of that same year, a production opened at the Edison Theatre on Broadway, where it ran for 96 performances. It opened with Colleen Dewhurst and Jason Robards. Other performers paired in the Broadway production included Lynn Redgrave and John Clark, Stockard Channing, and John Rubinstein, and Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern.

The performance schedule for The Letters Series is as follows: Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday at 2pm & 7pm; Thursday at 7pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2pm & 7pm; Sunday at 3pm.

Tickets to The Letters Series begin at $50 for one play and $85 for a package to both plays. Tickets are available now to Irish Rep members, will go on sale to the public on March 30 and will be available at IrishRep.org. $25 tickets will be available to patrons under 40 years of age via Irish Rep's GreenSeats membership.

Most performances at Irish Rep will be Mask-Optional. Certain performances will be designated as "Masks Required" - audience members must wear face masks for all Wednesday matinees and Saturday evening performances. We recognize that some of our patrons remain cautious about being in an audience with non-masked patrons, and that some are immunocompromised.

Irish Rep will maintain its rigorous cleaning procedures, as safety of our performers and audiences remains our top priority.

IRISH REPERTORY THEATRE

IRISH REPERTORY THEATRE, co-founded by Producing Director Ciarán O'Reilly and Artistic Director Charlotte Moore, is now in its 35th season after first opening its doors in September 1988 with Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. 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," an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement, and the Lucille Lortel Award for "Outstanding Body of Work," Irish Rep celebrates the very best in Irish theatre, from the masters to the new generation of Irish and Irish American writers who are transforming the stage. Nearly 50,000 audience members annually attend productions at Irish Rep's theatre located in the heart of New York's Off-Broadway community. Once here, they witness Irish Rep's engaging perspective on the Irish and their unique contributions to the world of drama.

DEAR LIAR

Melissa Errico

(Actor). "The Maria Callas of American musical theater," as Opera News has called her, referencing both her silken voice and dramatic, expressive intensity, Melissa Errico's career is characterized by a dazzling range of passions as actress, singer, and author. She is thrilled to return to Irish Rep where she has starred in numerous productions including her Drama Desk Award-nominated performances in The Importance of Being Earnest and Candida and playing Sharon in the musical Finian's Rainbow twice (the second time she chronicled in an essay for The New York Times). Most recently she starred as Daisy Gamble in Irish Rep's acclaimed production of On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (which she also explored in an essay for The New York Times in a pioneering piece on the sexual gender stereotypes in American musicals). Also known for her starring roles on Broadway, her recent tribute album, Sondheim Sublime, was called by The Wall Street Journal "The best all-Sondheim album ever recorded." Nominated for a Tony for her appearance in Michel Legrand's only Broadway musical, Amour, she was asked to write the eulogy to Legrand in The New York Times in 2019; while, that fall, Ghostlight Records reissued an expanded version of her symphonic album, which Legrand arranged and conducted, as Legrand Affair Deluxe Edition. She is currently working on her first book, a memoir tentatively titled Terminal Ingenue. Melissa is a frequent contributor to The New York Times under the rubric "Scenes from An Acting Life" where, for the last 7 years, she has published humorous and illuminating essays about performing. Her most recent NYT piece last week was an indelible profile of Marilyn Maye.

David Staller

(Actor) is the founder / artistic director of the Gingold Theatrical Group, which presents the acclaimed performance series, Project Shaw. A frequent lecturer on Shaw, he is the first person ever to direct performances of all of Shaw's plays. GTG also sponsors educational programs for inner-city teens, and has created a new-play development program, which follows Shaw's lead as theatre critic turned playwright. He has produced and directed many plays, concerts and special events in New York and around the world. He studied cello with Rostopovich, dance as member of the Joffrey apprentice company, was a staff writer for Turner Entertainment, studied with Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen, has appeared in almost 50 Off-Broadway and 3 Broadway plays, and has performed solo shows (including his NOEL&COLE) at Carnegie Hall, the Algonquin and internationally. gingoldgroup.com

Jerome Kilty

(Playwright) (1922-2012) was an actor and playwright most notably known for Dear Liar, his adaptation of 40 years of amorous correspondence between George Bernard Shaw and one of the London theater's most temperamental actresses.

George Bernard Shaw

(Playwright) (1856-1950). Born in Dublin in 1856, Shaw brought plays animated by ideas to the London stage. With his radical rationalism, disregard of convention, keen dialectic and verbal wit, he mocked the frivolous comedies of the Victorians. He was fiercely proud of being a free-thinking humanist, who championed human rights. A tireless advocate of animal rights, as well, he was a lifelong vegetarian and avoided alcohol and caffeine. Shaw's extraordinary energy is evident not only in the amount he wrote, but in how he lived his life. As a lecturer, he began as "an arrant coward, nervous and self-conscious to a heartrending degree" and transformed himself into a dazzling orator. Shaw loved women yet was careful to protect himself from their clutches. His correspondences had the intensity of love affairs, but it was not until 1898, that he married CHARLOTTE PAYNE-Townshend, a fellow Fabian. He was awarded both a Nobel Prize (1925) for his contribution to literature and an Oscar (1938) for his Pygmalion screenplay. He encouraged all people to forge individual paths in life, taking responsibility for their own choices. It is difficult to separate Shaw from G.B.S., the caricature of himself he invented. Asked in his seventies to explain his creation, Shaw wrote: "I was complicated by a deeper strangeness, which has made me all my life a sojourner on this planet rather than a native of it. I was at home only in the realm of my imagination. Therefore, I had to become an actor, and create for myself a fantastic personality fit and apt for dealing with men, and adaptable to the various parts I had to play as an author, journalist, orator, politician, committee man, man of the world." Shaw died, after falling from a ladder while pruning an apple tree, on November 2, 1950.

Charlotte Moore

(Director) Recent directing assignments: A Child's Christmas in Wales, Two by Synge, The Streets of New York, Meet Me in St. Louis*, Love, Noël*, Molly Sweeney* (*Performances on Screen), London Assurance, Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward, The Plough and the Stars as part of The O'Casey Cycle, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Three Small Irish Masterpieces by W.B Yeats, Lady Gregory and J.M. Synge. New York premiere of Brian Friel's The Home Place, World Premiere of Larry Kirwan's Rebel in the Soul, Finian's Rainbow, The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative Gala, Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, Juno and the Paycock and Dancing at Lughnasa. New York stage appearances include A Perfect Ganesh, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Perfect Party, Morning's at Seven, Private Lives (with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton), and many performances with the New York Shakespeare Festival. Ms. Moore has received two Tony Award nominations, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Drama League Award, the Irish America Top 100 Irish Award, The Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2008 Irish Women of The Year Award. She is the recipient of the St. Patrick's Committee in Holyoke's John F. Kennedy National Award and has thrice been listed as one of the "Top 50 Power Women" in Irish America Magazine. Charlotte was named "Director of the Year" by The Wall Street Journal in 2011. Charlotte has been inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame and awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad in 2019 by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

LOVE LETTERS

Matthew Broderick

(Actor) made his stage debut at 17 in Horton Foote's On Valentine's Day opposite his father, James Broderick. Off-Broadway: Torch Song Trilogy (OCC, Villager Award), The Widow Claire, Shining City (Obie Award) at the Irish Repertory Theatre and Evening at the Talk House (Obie Award). Broadway: Brighton Beach Memoirs (Tony, OCC, Theatre World awards), Biloxi Blues, How to Succeed in Business... (Tony, DD, OCC awards), Night Must Fall, Taller Than a Dwarf, The Producers (Tony, DD, OCC nominations), Roundabout's The Foreigner, The Philanthropist, The Odd Couple, Nice Work If You Can Get It, It's Only a Play and Sylvia. Films include: Max Dugan Returns, WarGames, 1918, On Valentine's Day, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Project X, Ladyhawke, Biloxi Blues, Glory, Family Business, The Freshman, The Lion King, Infinity, The Cable Guy, Addicted to Love, Election, You Can Count on Me, The Last Shot, Marie and Bruce, Strangers with Candy, Wonderful World, the film adaptation of The Producers, Bee Movie, Tower Heist, Rules Don't Apply, Margaret and Manchester By The Sea.

Laura Benanti

(Actor). Hailed by The New York Times for her "effortless" vocals, and by the New York Post for her ability to "whip up laughs out of thin air," Ms. Benanti first took Broadway by storm at the age of 18 as Maria in The Sound of Music, and has subsequently starred in ten more Broadway shows (musicals, straight plays, comedies and dramas) including Into the Woods, Nine (opposite Antonio Banderas), Gypsy (for which she won a Tony® Award), She Loves Me, My Fair Lady, and Steve Martin's Meteor Shower opposite Amy Schumer and Keegan Michael Key.

Her flourishing television and film career have included widely acclaimed appearances on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" as Melania Trump, Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Tick, Tick... Boom!" and roles on Hulu's "Life & Beth," "Inside Amy Schumer," as well as "Gossip Girl," "Younger," "Nashville," "Supergirl," and the highly anticipated second season of "The Gilded Age." In film, Benanti starred in Netflix's Worth opposite Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci and Amy Ryan, Here Today opposite Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish, and the upcoming Sony Pictures comedy No Hard Feelings opposite Jennifer Lawrence and Matthew Broderick.

Also, a book author and creator of the HBO Max special "Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020" based on her viral social media movement: #sunshinesongs, Benanti released a self-titled audio album for Sony Music Masterworks and tours the world performing solo concerts alongside highly celebrated musicians and orchestras.


A.R. Gurney

(Playwright) (1930-2017). Albert Ramsdell Gurney Jr. was an American playwright, novelist and academic. He is known for works including The Dining Room, Sweet Sue, and The Cocktail Hour, and for his Pulitzer Prize nominated play Love Letters. During his lifetime, A.R. Gurney wrote over 50 plays, musicals and novels. Educated at Williams College, he served a stint in the Navy, and subsequently studied playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. He began writing plays in the late 1960s, but seemed destined for a mainly academic career, teaching literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After teaching he moved to New York, premiered plays Off-Broadway, and regionally.

CIARÁN O'REILLY

(Director) Favorite directing credits include: Endgame; The Butcher Boy; A Touch of the Poet; Autumn Royal; A Touch Of The Poet*; The Weir* (*Performances on Screen); Lady G: Plays and Whisperings of Lady Gregory; Dublin Carol; The Shadow of a Gunman; The Seafarer; The Dead, 1904; Shining City; Off the Meter, On the Record: The Weir (Callaway Nom.); Banished Children of Eve; The Emperor Jones (Callaway Award, O'Neill Credo Award, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Lucille Lortel Nom.); The Hairy Ape (Drama Desk Drama League and Callaway Nom.); Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Drama Desk Nom). Irish Rep acting roles include Da, Juno and the Paycock, Dancing at Lughnasa, Molly Sweeney, Candida, Aristocrats, A Whistle in the Dark, The Shaughraun, and The Irish and How They Got That Way. He appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of A Touch of the Poet with Gabriel Byrne. He has appeared at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin and made his Broadway debut in The Corn is Green. Film & TV includes The Devil's Own (starring Harrison Ford), "Law & Order," The Irish...and How They Got That Way, "Third Watch," "Bored to Death" and "The Knick." Ciarán has been inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame and has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad, 2019 by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.





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